experience

Boxer went from 2 years out of sport driving lorry for B&Q to becoming Olympian

Team GB’s Cheavon Clarke has been given more than enough signs that boxing possibly wasn’t for him – from almost dying twice to quitting the sport all together and becoming a lorry driver.

But against odds the 30-year-old, originally born in Jamaica before moving to South London[1], managed to climb to the top and recently punched his name on the ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

On finally clinching his spot at this year’s delayed tournament, Cheavon told My London[2] he’s “more relieved than excited.”

“To be honest I’m just relieved. The job’s not done, when the job’s done I’ll be excited,” Cheavon said.

READ MORE: Senior Met Police Officer wins back job after tribunal rules sacking over child abuse clip was unfair[3]

Cheavon was driving lorries for a living before becoming a Team GB Olmypian
Cheavon was driving lorries for a living before becoming a Team GB Olmypian (Image: Cheavon Clarke)

The heavyweight boxer has his sight firmly fixed on a gold medal but four years ago Cheavon, known to his friends as Chev, was driving a lorry for a living.

Cheavon made a strong start in boxing and at the tender age of 18 years old he was winning championships.

A ruptured appendix months into his budding career which almost killed him couldn’t even stop the Jamaica-born fighter’s prospects.

After a six-month break he continued on a tear through the sport. Frustrating decisions against him and an unsuccessful trial for Team GB had the star contemplating his future in the sport, but he still couldn’t be stopped.

Cheavon competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games representing Jamaica, but it was a surprising loss at the tournament that finally put his boxing career on pause.

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I lost and I shouldn’t have,” Cheavon said.

“To make it worse everyone was saying ‘that was terrible, I should have won that’ so I was like ‘I’m putting up the gloves’ and stopped boxing for two years.”

As one of the best young boxing talents in the UK, Cheavon put it on pause, taking a lorry driving job delivering to Homebase and B&Q.

During his hiatus between 2014 and 2016, the incoming Olympian said he “loved” his new job.

“I was making money,” Cheavon laughed.

Frustrated with boxing Cheavon stopped to be a lorry driver
Frustrated with boxing Cheavon stopped to be a lorry driver (Image: Cheavon Clarke)

He continued: “Up until December 2015 I didn’t train or do nothing. It was great, I loved lorry driving, any time boxing gets on my nerves, back in the lorry.

“I just go on what I feel, if I enjoy something I do it, I’m not a slave to my trade, I do what I enjoy. It was fun, it was really great.”

Cheavon said his friends constantly pestered him to get back into boxing during his time away and at the close of 2015 his coach, out of the blue, told him to prepare for a March bout.

Before he knew it Cheavon was back competing again at a high level picking up medals and finally landing a spot with Team GB where he competed at the European Championships winning a silver medal in 2017.

The boxer who only started boxing as a teenager looking for something to do in the summer, became Team GB’s number one fighter.

On his start in boxing Cheavon said: ” I used to play football and that was my thing, I was passionate differently about football, people said I should box because I would always be shadow boxing.

“It was one summer my friends were trying to convince me to go to a weights gym and I was like weights are pointless, it’s boring then I saw the boxing club down the road from me.

“So I tricked my friend into going with me.”

On his rise to the top Cheavon has crossed paths with the likes of Anthony Joshua, Rio Ferdinand and even Prince Charles.

The prospect of being a global boxing star along with other British fighters Joshua and Daniel Dubois doesn’t phase Cheavon, he’s focused on one goal.

“I know I can beat anybody in the world,” Cheavon said.

He continued: “Right now the focus is going to the Olympics and executing and performing.

“I don’t care about nothing else. They could offer me a million pounds, nope, Olympic medal.”

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