The Straightener In The Car Park: Tommy Frank Loses His Unbeaten Record
It was bold, it was a gamble and it was different. The concept seemed strange, crazy even, but it worked. The fans parked their cars, they stayed in them and horns were honked. It created a different kind of atmosphere, but after months of sterile studio-based shows, it was welcomed.
The Sheffield Arena doors remain firmly locked, but the car park hosted a boxing show with a difference on Friday night. An outdoor show in December, and in Sheffield, would be branded as stupid in any other year, but this is 2020, anything goes to keep the sport going.
I spoke to the promoter Dennis Hobson a few weeks ago and his passion and belief in the project were impressive. There were problems, Tommy Frank had two scheduled opponents fall away for his return to action in the main event, but as usual, Hobson delivered and deserves credit for getting the show on in these extremely difficult times.
Frank 27, was hoping for a British title fight but ended up with a tough fight against Hugo Guarneros for the IBF Inter-Continental flyweight title. Frank didn’t complain or care, he just wanted to fight.
For a few rounds of their headlining fight, Frank looked sharp and impressively so, not showing any signs of rust after a year away from the ring. But suddenly around the 3rd round, disaster hit.
It was apparent that Frank had injured his left arm, and from that point on he was rendered a one-armed fighter.
Frank (13-1) more than stayed in the fight and looked more than capable of winning even with one hand. But gradually Guarneros started to outwork Frank and in the 8th round, the signs became all too visible that Frank would lose his unbeaten record. The Sheffield fighter for the first time in the fight was struggling to keep his Mexican opponent off him.
Glyn Rhodes pulled his man out at the end of that 8th round, a decision that was about as perfectly timed as it could have been. Frank desperately and bravely wanted to carry on, but he had fought his fight, his chance of victory had gone.
It is hard not to feel sympathy for Frank, the pandemic stopped a scheduled world title fight earlier this year and now an injury has ended his unbeaten run in the professional ranks. But Frank is young enough and more importantly, good enough to come again. Even with one hand, he showed his class, the Tommy Frank story is far from over.