An Interview With Unbeaten Commonwealth Champion Tommy Frank
By Ben Gibson
Sheffield’s unbeaten Commonwealth super flyweight champion Tommy Frank has always been a fighter and a champion in his own right. When Tommy was born it was discovered that he had a hole in his heart.
The current 10-0 Commonwealth super flyweight title holder went five years with the hole in his heart and when he was five it was corrected.
However, ‘Super’ Frank never let it affect him:
“My lips would go blue occasionally but apart from that I was just a normal kid and I was very active.”
Having the determination and the fight inside he was able to go through an operation before he even started boxing, he won titles as an amateur and he is now the holder of one of the most prestigious titles in boxing:
“When I was around 12 years old I first discovered boxing as my cousin used to box for Sheffield Boxing Centre and he would show me some of his shadow boxing.
“When I went to my Uncles house they would have a punching bag so I would use that and also I watched old fight tapes of Mike Tyson.”
With the spark of boxing planted Tommy then moved to a gym and his explosive career began:
“I asked my Dad to take me down to Sheffield Boxing Centre (SBC) one Saturday morning and I have been there ever since.
“I didn’t really take to it at first but I liked the training side of it.
“I was a little scared when I began but once I got hit on the nose a couple of times I warmed into it.
“Around the time I started I watched the first season of The Contender in 2005 with my Dad and that really inspired me.”
Tommy has had inspiration for his boxing career come from a number of sources, they have included, “the likes of Serfio Mora, Peter Manfredo Jr and Alfonso Gomez all being on the show:
“I remember watching them and thinking, that is what I want to do.”
Like many young boxers, Tommy played other sports during his adolescent years, and football was a big one:
“I wasn’t really getting anywhere with football and in the end my Dad ended up saying, I think you have got a lot more talent in boxing then you have at football.”
With his Dad’s words on board, Tommy was able to begin an amateur career that would see him fight 45 times.
“I had a mixed record but I won more than half but only just.
“I had some good wins as an amateur and definitely had a few decisions go against me when I thought I had done enough.”
Something that boxers especially Tommy pride themselves on is having the professional style even when they aren’t a professional.
“Being from SBC the amateurs have pro styles and it doesn’t always work in the amateurs, but I definitely learnt a lot though and I think that is what your amateur career is about.
“It is your apprenticeship before turning pro as Glyn always says.”
Tommy may not have won all of his fights but he won them when it counted and was winning titles before he turned professional, like a Yorkshire title in 2010.
“I won numerous Yorkshire titles and two senior Yorkshire belts.
“Ultimately my ambition and dream were always to be a professional boxer, right from when I first started boxing.
“It is all I have ever wanted to do and to be honest I am very lucky to be doing my hobby as a career.”
Before making the jump to the professional world Tommy was a champion:
“There is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your hand gets raised in any fight but especially a title fight.
“It is the best feeling in the world.”
When it came to throwing himself into the professional world Tommy took to it like a duck to water and so far is unbeaten in his 10 fights.
“I thought (going professional) suited me down to the ground because you can take your time more and figure your opponent out for 30 seconds or even a minute.
“This is different as an amateur as you can’t afford to do that.
“Now that I have turned pro I can finally box in the style that I want to and it is the style that suits me best.”
The Yorkshire champ told me how he has “loved every minute” of being a professional, but it hasn’t always been the case:
“The hardest thing about being a professional boxer is the diet.
“When you watch your family and friends eating nice food when you are coming down to weight it isn’t fun at all.
“It is all worth it when you get the win, you are only human and you cannot be upbeat all of the time and especially when you are in the hardest part of the training camps.
“You are tired and some days you have to push through but when you get into the gym you still love it.
“I just have to think about how I can improve myself and what I can take from the session and then I am back in love.”
In his professional career, Tommy has earned himself an impressive record of 10-0 with 2 of those coming by way of stoppage.
Now he prepares to take on, Jemsi Kibazange were he will defend his Commonwealth super flyweight title.
For the fight, Tommy has reflected on his previous outings saying:
“I try to always look at my flaws or anything that I can improve.
“Nothing has really stood out this time around, it is just my all-around technique as you can always improve on the smaller things.
“I am really looking forward to defending my title.
“I love fighting and on the night when you have done all the hard training for months and you feel razor sharp, is a great feeling.
“I like to put on a show for the crowd and I am very lucky to be topping the bill in my home city in front of all of my fans.
“It really means a lot to be able to fight in front of my fans.
“I appreciate people spending there hard earned money to come and support me in my fights and my goal is to repay them by giving them a journey to follow and to give them exciting fights.”