A smile passes over Cheavon Clarke’s lips when he feels like he’s solved the problem in front of him.

We are beginning to see that smile more and more. After notching up a valuable ten rounds with Israel Duffus in February, the unbeaten 32 year old cruiserweight dismantled David Jamieson with a fearsome display of inside fighting in June and followed it up with an entertaining and wide decision victory over the tough and dangerous Vasil Ducar in September.

Clarke (7-0, 5 KO’s) turned professional with a fraction of the hype afforded to his teammates from the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo but is beginning to generate plenty of excitement.

“I enjoy it. I train hard. Boxing is the easy part, just go in there and make things happen. I love it when they think they’ve hurt or caught me. It’s a smile to say, ‘Close, but you’re not there.’” Clarke told BoxingScene.com.

“Congratulations to all my teammates who won medals at the Olympics but my time at the Olympics was short-lived so - just like Peter McGrail - nobody saw me, like Lawrence Okolie in the last cycle. After turning pro I think it’s safe to say that other than Galal Yafai I’ve been the most exciting. I don’t wanna overlook anybody so don’t sue me if I missed you.

“It’s been coming together, man. I don’t really like doing too much media and stuff, because I don’t talk a lot, I just get it done but what you’re seeing in the ring is what I do in sparring. In fact, no. It’s about 10% of what I do in sparring. There’s so much more entertainment that I can and will show as I go on.”

Britain's cruiserweight division is in a heathy state at the moment with a deep list of contenders.

On the world stage, WBO champion, Chris Billam-Smith, Richard Riakporhe, Lawrence Okolie are all big, imposing figures who have enjoyed success at the highest level. Isaac Chamberlain is the newly crowned British champion and former IBO champion Jack Massey will return to the ring soon. Jordan Thompson will be seeking to rebuild from his loss to IBF world champion, Jai Opetaia, if he stays at 200lbs whilst the unbeaten and improving Ellis Zorro and English champion, Viddal Riley, seem to be on the verge of breaking out.

Clarke brings something different to the mix. In the NFL, a quarterback who is comfortable and confident enough to hold his feet, maintain his technique and make the right decisions as chaos closes down on him is said to have good pocket presence. It is also a pretty good way to describe Clarke. His ‘C4’ nickname is also apt. Clarke is a smart, fierce puncher at range but really comes into his own when he can work his way inside. Once there, his hand and foot speed and use of angles allows him to find room for a variety of explosive short punches. 

“It sounds like you’re saying that I need to come and rescue the cruiserweight division?” he laughed. “When you look at my fights, you’ve never seen me in a boring one, straight from the off. When you come to watch me fight, I know you have to work hard for your money because I worked for a while - I was a lorry driver - so I want to put on a show like the guys from the 1980’s or 90’s. They’re coming to hurt somebody and put on a show. That’s what you get from a Chev Clarke fight.

“It’s the levels and the angles. That’s how my amateur coaches taught me how to box. I love it. It’s a combination of Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jnr, Sugar Ray Robinson. It’s amazing. Especially hitting somebody with an uppercut. Are you mad? 

“In the amateur game I think it worked against me rather than for me. People always used to say that they couldn’t wait to se me go pro and now I’m a pro, people are getting to see it. Their dreams have come true.”

Over the past few years, Britain’s cruiserweights have been a shining example to boxers in other weight classes. Whilst other fighters routinely allow big fights to pass their sell by date, wither and die, the top  200lb contenders have never been shy about mixing. Before any of them reached the world stage, the likes of Billam-Smith, Okolie, Riakporhe and Massey engaged in an unofficial round robin tournament and - win or lose - by the time they reached the top, they were battle hardened and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Last month, Clarke sat at home watching Isaac Chamberlain claim the British title by comprehensively outboxing Mikael Lawal. The heavy handed Lawal turned in an unusually tame performance and surrendered his belt to Chamberlain, who has been through the fire time and time again himself.

Clarke is the mandatory challenger to the new British champion and although Chamberlain put in a composed, skilful display in a must win fight, Clarke insists that the display taught him nothing new about his rival and that the game of catch up with his British rivals is almost over. 

“I didn’t have an emotional attachment to it. I just watched thinking, You’ve got the British title and you didn’t turn up.’” Clarke said, referencing Lawal. “Chamberlain just had to turn up. There was no retaliation, there was no threat. The last two rounds he tried to do something, he caught Chamberlain with an overhand right I believe but there was no threat for ten rounds. 

“Lawal didn’t turn up so we couldn’t see anything. All Chamberlain had to throw was the jab so there was nothing to see really. It was just a walk in the park really.

“The truth is, I’m already at that level. It’s just a case of catching up now because there’s a process. You have all the top guys from the UK that are at that level, I’m up there with them. Because I didn’t succeed at the Olympics, I haven’t had the media push that would let people see me. Mostly at the moment it’s boxing purists knowing who I am. When it comes to skill and class, I’m up there.”