The Burton ABC fighter travels the world with his sport and is separated from the mother of his daughter Mila, 3, limiting the amount of time he can spend with her.

Clarke spent the whole of lockdown with Mila and his partner Danni, making up for lost time in what turned in to a special few weeks for the superheavyweight.

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"I never really get to see Mila and lockdown was probably the most I've ever seen of her," said the 28-year-old.

"I will always look back in my life and say that three-month period was incredibly special. It brought us all together.

"I got to see her grow. That's something I'd never been able to do - it's one thing being separated from her mother and another doing the job that I do.

"I'm always away training in Sheffield or flying from country to country so it was quite beautiful spending that amount of time with her.

"I've been living away from home for ten years. Rather than just having a friendship as we did before, I've become her dad and she's become my daughter.

"I was gutted the Olympics were postponed, but even the Olympics couldn't have been better than that bond we've made in the past three months.

"When I get Olympic gold next year, all the sacrifices are going to be worth it."

Clarke is one of more than 1,100 athletes on UK Sport's National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing him to train full-time and benefit from technology, science and medical support

He made his first GB Boxing squad in 2010 and has watched and waited for a decade for a tilt at Olympic gold, far and away the biggest prize available to amateur boxers.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist missed on a spot at London 2012 to Anthony Joshua and Rio 2016 to Joe Joyce, successful professional fighters both.

Despite never getting a shot at the big Olympic prize and having to wait another year, Clarke has had the time of his life wearing his country's colours.

Now his time at the top could be just a few months away as he looks to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won athletes since National Lottery funding started in 1997.

"Another year is a drop in the ocean for me," he said.

"It's been a rollercoaster since 2010 – for a fat kid from Burton who'd only ever been on a plane once and left the town a handful of times.

"I've travelled the world and represented my country, met incredible people and be trained by amazing trainers. I've enjoyed the whole 10 years.

"People say to me 10 years is too long, but I can't say a bad word about it. It's the time of your life.

"Another year isn't a drag - I don't want to leave Sheffield, to be honest. People might think I'm scared of change but I love this city, I've gone from a boy to a man here.

"I've seen friends win Olympic medals; I've seen friends become world champions. It's been a great ride, it's been thrilling, but the best is still to come."

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo

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