The FightPost Interviews: Tommy Frank
Boxing like all sports has been decimated in recent days due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. Sheffield’s Tommy Frank was due to challenge for the IBO flyweight title in his hometown on March 27th, but the current crisis has resulted in his dream fight being postponed for the foreseeable future.
When I pressed call on my phone I expected Frank to be a rather subdued fighter, but he was anything but.
“I’m devastated, but it is what it is. You just have to stay positive. On Monday I was feeling really hopeful, the Board put out a statement saying all the shows this weekend were going ahead, so I thought mine a week later would be. But then things changed very quickly on Monday night with that announcement from the Government.”
Frank, despite the obvious disappointment, can still see the positives from his recent arduous training camp, which included a trip to Fuerteventura:
“It’s not been for nothing, I am going to stay in the gym and keep ticking over, and when fight night comes around I will be better than ever.”
Training camps are expensive and fighters in simple terms need to lace on their gloves to earn, no fight no pay:
“It’s a big hit of course it is. If I don’t fight I don’t get paid, and a week on Friday I was expecting a pay-cheque which I am now not going to get. But saying that I am very lucky that have I long-term sponsors which allow me to be a full-time professional boxer. Some of the sponsors have been with me since I was an amateur and I can’t thank them enough. But ultimately after a 10-week camp, if you miss a fight then you also don’t get your money.”
There is no immediate end in sight for the current situation, but Frank is planning on staying in the gym, ready for the call when it comes:
“It’s pretty well known I don’t go missing after a fight. I live in the gym pretty much the whole year. I will keep ticking over but I will obviously take the foot off the gas so I don’t burn out. I have been on a strict diet for the last few months, so I will enjoy a few more calories. I love training and I will continue to work on my craft every day and become a better fighter.”
Any fight being cancelled is problematic for any fighter, but with a world title shot falling through, for Frank it’s even more painful:
“It was my dream, it’s not just the last few weeks, it’s the last 14 years of hard work. I’ve won titles before but they were the building blocks to a world title. But the fight isn’t off, it is just postponed, the fight is locked in. When the green light is given for boxing to start again, I will fight Maximino Flores for the IBO world flyweight title.”
Frank, unbeaten in 13 fights and a former Commonwealth champion at super-flyweight, recently moved down a weight division to test new waters at flyweight, with a win already in his new home:
“I felt absolutely brilliant, for the last two fights I have worked with Lee Rickards the Sheffield United nutritionist. I’ve always done my own diet and nutrition, but when you move up to world level those extra few percentages really count. I said to Lee do you think you could get me down to flyweight and he said yes. I felt really strong in my last fight, I made the weight brilliant and felt so good. I can box at either weight, it’s really where the best opportunities are, but for now, flyweight is where I am.”
A lifetime Sheffield United fan, Frank has enjoyed being presented to his fellow Blades at half-time:
“Sheffield United are really getting behind me, and it means a lot to me. I appreciate the fans support so much. On the pitch things are going well, riding high in the Premier League and long it may continue. So a massive thanks to the fans.”
We now live in very uncertain times and who knows when things will get back to any sort of normality. But Frank is staying in the gym, and the delay could mean Flores faces a far more difficult task when the fight gets rescheduled later in the year.