Tommy Frank: “I haven’t shown what I’m capable of yet.”
By Louis Devereux
It’s fair to say that 2020 didn’t quite go to plan for anyone. This was especially true for ‘Super’ Tommy Frank, who had both British and World title fights cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
On the 11th December, after 13 months of inactivity, Frank finally had a fight date, and it was crucial that the Sheffield fighter performed at his usual best to set up a promising and successful 2021.
After numerous opponents pulled out, Frank eventually found a fight in Hugo Guarneros, and the two would clash for the IBF Intercontinental title. Not only was it for a belt, but it was the UK’s first ever ‘drive -in’ boxing show.
This was undeniably a huge night for all involved. After a sharp start, it quickly went south for Frank. Sustaining a shoulder injury in the opening few rounds, Frank’s trainer, Glyn Rhodes, was eventually forced to pull him out at the end of round 8 and though it looked serious at the time, it seems the injury is not as bad as many feared.
“I went and got some scans the day after the fight, and thankfully there are no tears in the muscle which is good. I don’t need surgery on it or anything. It was a really bad strain on my rotator cuff and two muscles in particular at the back of my shoulder blade, but It’s just a matter of getting physio done on it which is what I’ve been doing with LB Sports therapy, and she’s doing a great job. I’m recovering really well.
“It did obviously affect me during the fight but I know it won’t have any long-term implications.”
Regardless of the result, Frank stamped his name in British Boxing history by headlining Britain’s first ‘drive- in’ boxing event, a format that he is hoping will be continued and repeated from now on.
“The whole event worked brilliant and Dennis Hobson needs massive credit for getting round all the obstacles to pull this off, as well as for just getting me a fight. It was making history as the UK’s first drive-in boxing event and its good for the fighters in the stable that Dennis can get them work, get them a fight and get them out there.
“The event on the whole was absolutely brilliant; it worked really well and looked good for the TV, and although I can imagine it was costly to put together, it worked very well, so I’m sure Dennis will try it again in the future. The main aim is to get fans back at live boxing, that’s what every promoter wants for his fighters, and this is a way to achieve that in the near future.”
Originally, the December 11th fight date was pencilled in as Frank’s shot at winning the prestigious British title against fellow Sheffield based fighter Kyle Yousaf. Even though Tommy didn’t beat Hugo Guarneros, he assures me this has not jeopardised his fight with Yousaf, and that the British title will still be on the line.
“I’m very fortunate because I’ve come out of this without it affecting my original plan of fighting for the British title. The BBBoC have still approved my fight with Kyle, so the plan hasn’t changed, we want that fight next.
“Obviously getting the British title would be unbelievable, as it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’d also love to beat Kyle; he’s a really good fighter. He would be a great name to have on my record, and I think I’d get a lot of credit for beating him. He’s undefeated, and we are both from Sheffield so it’s a very big domestic fight in our division. I want to beat Yousaf, win the British title and look good doing it.
“I know Dennis is working hard to get a date for that fight, and its looking like April time, but after that I’d like to avenge my loss. Dennis has got options with the Guarneros rematch, so fingers crossed we can get this British title and then rematch Guarneros for the Intercontinental belt.”
It makes sense that Tommy wants to eventually target a second fight with Guarneros and correct the sole loss on his record.
It was clear that Frank wanted to take his chances and keep fighting even with the injury, but the fight was eventually stopped by Tommy’s corner at the end of the eighth round, much to the protest of the injured boxer. It appeared as though there was a disagreement between fighter and trainer, but Frank was quick to make it clear that Glyn Rhodes stopping the fight has had no impact on the relationship between the two.
“No, there was definitely no tension. Glyn knows this game inside out, he had 65 pro fights himself, he’s trained and been involved with many champions. People know Glyn and they know he understands boxing, and I feel very privileged to work with him and everyone from Sheffield Boxing Centre.
“I’m very lucky to have him as a trainer and a cornerman. As a fighter, you’re never going to be happy about being pulled out, I was doing what I could with the shoulder injury, just using my right arm, and to a certain extent I was having success but I could feel the fight slipping away from me. I felt like he was just out-flurrying me in the last 20 seconds of the rounds.
“I don’t think I was in any danger of being stopped, but you never know with boxing, one shot could change everything. Would I have won the fight? I’d have kept trying until the end but maybe I wouldn’t have. There was definitely no argument or dispute after the fight, Glyn knows what he’s doing and he just wanted me to live to fight another day.
“Obviously I was arguing in the corner, but that’s what a fighter should do in my opinion. If you are going to lose you want to go out on your shield, so that was my inner fighter coming out. The top and bottom of it is that he’s the boss, he makes the decisions and I respect that.”
At only 27, Frank believes his best years are ahead of him, and has high ambitions for the future.
“If I win the British and the Intercontinental then that will put me in a good position for a world ranking, moving me towards world title level. I want to be involved in big fights; there are big fights out there to be made and I want to be a part of them. I feel like I’m coming into my prime years as a fighter, so my goal is definitely to get into world title contention.”
As a proud Sheffield United fan, Tommy one day dreams of a big fight at his beloved Bramall Lane and believes this to be a possibility as he’s already collaborated with the club.
“That’s been a dream of mine since I was young, and I’ve worked with the club before. They brought me out on the pitch when I won my title, and that was great. I’ve fought there before in one of the suites, but to headline an event held on the pitch, that’s definitely an ambition of mine.
“Everyone knows I’m a Sheffield United fan and I just want to have a big event for Sheffield in general, with Wednesday and United fans getting a pint, watching the fight and supporting me together. That’s a dream of mine 100%.”
If Frank is to fulfil his dream of fighting at Bramall Lane, there are many big domestic fights he can take to raise his popularity, his world ranking, and his profile. He already has a fight lined up with Kyle Yousaf, but another domestic fight that has been talked about a lot is a potential clash with Sunny Edwards.
“Sunny is in front of me in terms of world rankings and he’s knocking on those doors. I’m not in that position yet, so there’s no point talking about that fight now, but when I do get there, I think Sunny will be open to fighting me. It would be a big fight for the British title, our division, and an even bigger fight if a world title was on the line.”
Sunny was not quite as friendly about Tommy in a recent interview, saying that if Dennis Hobson tries to contact Frank Warren to organise a fight between the two, Sunny will tell him to ‘get f****d’ and hang up. He also labelled the entire British super-flyweight division ‘cowards,’ but Tommy explained he had no interest in Twitter spats.
“In the interviews leading up to my last fight I was asked about a fight with Sunny, and I explained that it was definitely a fight I’d want and then for some reason they changed the headline to make it look like I was talking bad about him and calling him out in every interview. It’s not me mentioning his name, it’s the headlines trying to get clicks.
“I know he put something after my fight celebrating that I’d lost, and that’s alright, but I don’t really do Twitter and stuff, I don’t do back and forth over social media. Face to face is a different story, and if he wants to say something to my face then he’s more than welcome. I’m definitely up for that, but when it comes to saying stuff over Twitter I’ve got better things to do with my day.
“Maybe he was in a bit of a bad mood or unhappy about something when he said all that.”
Though not as outspoken as Sunny, it seemed Tommy would be very confident if that fight were to get made down the line.
“I see myself beating him 100%. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great fighter and a great mover and no one is disputing that, but I truly believe I have the tools to beat him. I haven’t shown what I’m capable of yet; no one has seen the best Tommy Frank yet, that’s still to come.
“I’ve just got to keep winning, keep improving and hopefully one day that fight does get made and we can both make some money and give the fans a great fight. I believe in myself 100%. I might be quiet on social media and he might be a lot more vocal than me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not confident in myself because I am.
“The cream always rises to the top, so when the fight does happen, we’ll see won’t we.”