Tommy Frank: “I’m just playing with the hand I’m dealt and focussing on the positives.”

Tommy Frank: “I’m just playing with the hand I’m dealt and focussing on the positives.”

By Oliver McManus

A new challenge awaits for Tommy Frank, he will now face Rosendo Guarneros this Friday for the IBF Inter-Continental flyweight title.

Frank had been gearing up to contest the Lord Lonsdale belt against fellow Sheffield resident Kyle Yousaf before Yousaf returned a positive test for Coronavirus. Former Team GB star Harvey Horn signed up and withdrew in the space of a handful of days and that brings us to Guarneros: simple, right?

In any other year the circumstances would be frustrating beyond belief but, such as 2020 has been, Frank began by telling me he had learned to take the uncertainty in his stride.

“It sounds hard to believe but it’s really not bothered me, to be honest. I’ve known all along that I’ll be in the ring on December 11th, that’s the main thing, and Dennis (Hobson) and Steve (Crump) would sort out the opponent. It’s a fight I’m looking forward to: beating Guarneros would get me a world ranking with the IBF so I’m ending the year with a meaningful fight and that’s all I can ask for after the year we’ve had.”

The 27 year old already had disappointment to contend with when, in March, his IBO title fight against Maximino Flores was postponed as a result of the pandemic.

Since then it’s been a case of twiddling thumbs, shadow boxing in the living room and waiting for the green light. There was no feeling sorry for himself, however, with Frank acutely aware his life continued throughout lockdown with comparative fortune.

“It’s been a really tough year for lots of people and I’m under no illusions that I have been very lucky throughout it all. I’m very lucky that Glyn (Rhodes) gave me the keys to the gym so I could go down and just train by myself so life hasn’t changed all that much for me, if I’m honest. I’m just playing with the hand I’m dealt and focussing on the positives: I’ve still got a good fight on December 11th and, if I get through that, the British title fight in 2021 so I’m very happy with how it’s all worked out.”

On Friday it will be a different type of event to that we’re used to: the UK’s first ever drive-in show after successful shows in Germany and Mexico. Whilst the career of Frank has already seen glistening moments – a 4th round stoppage over Luke Wilton for the Commonwealth title a particular highlight – this will be a moment in the history books to savour.

“That in itself is making history, the whole occasion will be a massive experience for sure. It’s another memory that I can tell my kids about when I’m older and sometimes you lose track of things like that. We live in a bit of a boxing bubble most of the time where you don’t always appreciate the opportunities to make those memories but this is definitely one that will stand out.

It might be a little colder than I’m used to, that’s for sure, but once the lights are on (over the ring) they’ll give off a bit of heat: other than that it won’t be too different to fighting in the arena itself.”

Whilst the opponent may be different to what he first expected – and indeed second expected – the state goal remains unchanged. Win and look good doing so is very much the order of the day.

“I’m obviously looking for a really good performance because I want to raise a few eyebrows to end the year. It’s been over twelve months since I last fought but I’m not expecting that to be a factor; Glyn and I have been training for a long time and it’s been going well so the plan remains the same.

That IBF Inter-Continental title comes with a world ranking and, you know, at this weight once you’re in the rankings then anything can happen and opportunities can just pop up out of the blue. If I end the year with that belt (and) get the Kyle Yousaf fight set up for early next year then the next 12 months should be very, very exciting.”

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