The story of British boxer Cheavon Clarke who is aiming for gold at the Tokyo Olympics is a remarkable one. At the age of eight, Clarke was left lifeless after falling off a ladder and being impaled by a steel spike. Then when he was 18, he 'flatlined' in hospital again, this time because of a burst appendix.
For the first time he knew about he could fight was when a punched racist bully at school and get excluded. The heavyweight, now 29, also recalls the moment he squared up to Prince Charles, the time he played Call of Duty with Usain Bolt, and when he went in the ring with Rio Ferdinand in the former footballer's back garden. Oh, and how he once quit boxing to become a lorry driver. Having grown up in the small town of Stonehenge, near Montego Bay in Jamaica, he moved to England with his mum and sister at the age of 10 and started school in Kent.
Following his playground scrap, Clarke plucked up the courage to go to the boxing club. 'I had my first session, it was really good and I met a coach called Jason Weeks and he was really into me. He said, 'You can be really good, you could be a world champ'. But later he left coaching to become a supplier. In 2015 he returned his journey back to become a boxer.
Clarke went on to win the National Amateur Championships in 2016 and got another trial for Team GB. This time he was successful and in January 2017 he was invited on to the funded World Class Programme. It was also around this time that he boxed with former England captain Ferdinand. World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, the London 2012 gold medallist, is another famous face Clarke has come across in Sheffield. Clarke came across a number of famous faces in Sheffield, including Anthony Joshua.
While in Jamaica, he was running up the ladder and got three quarters of the way up when the ladder went and he dropped. He fell on a steel spike which went straight through him. He was taken to the hospital and he almost died on the theatre table. But survived. A decade on, when he was living in England, he felt a pain in his stomach. He tried home remedy and finally went to a hospital. But there was a five-hour wait so Clarke decided to go back home, where he ended up collapsing on the stairs and was rushed back to hospital in an ambulance. He woke up in the morning and saw flowers around him. However, Clarke came back to life again. If he were to win a medal in Tokyo it would undoubtedly be one of the best British stories of the Olympics.
Clarke won a bronze medal for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and reached the quarter-finals of last year's World Championships in Russia, where he lost to home fighter and eventual winner. He is not ranked among the three favourites for Tokyo, but do not expect him to pay any attention to that.