Tommy Frank: ‘I Know My Biggest Fights Are Still To Come.’

Tommy Frank: ‘I Know My Biggest Fights Are Still To Come.’

By Louis Devereux

A lot can change in a year. When I last spoke to Tommy Frank in February 2021, he was downbeat, injured and despondent, having just lost for the first time in his career to Hugo Guarneros. He was expected to win, and the surprise loss seemed as if it had put him back to square one. This was clearly not the case, however, as this week he spoke to me in far better spirits.

He may have lost his long-awaited rematch with Guarneros (on a split-decision), but since then he has racked up two wins on the bounce, one of which saw him crowned as the British flyweight champion.

It’s one thing winning a British title, but the best champions look to defend their belt, and that’s exactly what Tommy is hoping to do. He has a fight lined up for April, and he assured me he was working hard as ever to prepare for the date.

‘I’m just doing my usual, living my life in the gym. It’s what I love to do and luckily, I always seem to have a fight date to work towards which helps with motivation a lot. My next date is the 2nd of April in Sheffield, possibly in a new venue, so that’s exciting. I’m working towards that and fingers crossed I’ll be making my first defence of the British title. As for who I’m fighting, we have had a look at a few names and I’m sure that within a few weeks we’ll be able to confirm an opponent.

‘Just winning a British title is a fantastic achievement that puts me in a very select group of fighters, but if I defended it outright and got to keep the Lonsdale belt then I’d be in an even smaller select few. If it’s possible to get those fights where I can defend it, then 100% I would love to do that.’

One fighter who would almost certainly jump at the chance to take Tommy’s belt off him is fellow Sheffield flyweight, Kyle Yousaf. The two have been very close to fighting before, and whilst I can’t speak on behalf of Kyle, Tommy seemed more than up for that fight happening at some point down the line, as it would undoubtedly be a big domestic scrap and a real 50/50.

I’ve not heard anything about him for a while to be fair. I was meant to be fighting him for the British title and there were a few possible dates proposed to us but for various reasons he pulled out; that’s why I eventually fought Matt Windle. I’ve seen Kyle is in the gym which is good, but I’m not completely sure if he’s recovering from an injury, or what’s really going on. I don’t know if he’ll want to have a warm up fight or if he wants to come straight for my British, but if the opportunity comes up then that would be a massive fight for both of us. We are both from Sheffield, and it’s a fight that’s been talked about for a long time, so once I’ve got this belt defended on April 2nd and he gets himself back fit that’s definitely a fight I’d want to be a part of.’

There are several routes Tommy can take at this point in his career; his options are open and the sky is the limit. I couldn’t help but wonder, however, whether the back-to-back losses to Hugo Guarneros was something that still bothered him, and if he ever saw himself going back for one more shot at redemption.

‘If I’m completely honest, until I tick the box of beating him there will always be a little niggle in my head. The first fight when I was pulled out because of my injury was hard, but the rematch was definitely harder to take because I just lost, plain and simple. That was that. It taught me a lesson that no matter how far ahead you think you are, the judges might be looking at a completely different fight so you really have to cement every single round; you can’t just ‘nick’ a fight, especially when you’re fighting at fringe world level. It was a massive blow and I didn’t know what was going to happen to my career afterwards.

‘I didn’t even know if I was still going to get the chance to fight for the British, but massive thanks to Dennis Hobson and Steve Crump, they pulled something out of the bag when they sorted me the shot at the British title against Matt Windle. I knew I messed up on the night; I didn’t box badly, but it wasn’t me at my best at all and I lost through what I didn’t do, rather than what he did do. I got straight back in the gym after the loss and I let it drive me to work harder, and luckily I took the British title shot with both hands and won it, which I really feel has put me back on track.’

I then rounded off the interview with a few quick-fire questions that I like to ask everyone I speak to. First off, I asked Tommy what it was that he was fighting for, and what it was that really motivated him to get up and work hard every day.

‘Family. That’s the number one for me. If I said I was in boxing for the money that would be a lie because boxing is what I love to do, and I’ve been very fortunate that from the age of 15 when I had my first fight, boxing is all I’ve been focussed on. My sponsors allow me to be a full-time boxer which is the dream, but I’m more than happy to just get by on £100 a week; I don’t buy flashy clothes and cars, because the main aim for me is to provide for my fiancé, my future kids and my parents. My parents love caravanning so fingers crossed I make enough in the next couple of years to buy them a new caravan, and I can comfortably look after all my family.’

If you could fight any boxer from history to share the ring with, who would you choose and why?

‘My hero is Roberto Duran, he’s definitely my number one idol, but I wouldn’t want to fight him because I know he’d do me in! To be honest, I’d rather go back in time and be sat ringside to watch some of the greats. Jake LaMotta vs Sugar Ray Robinson or something, just to be able to watch that in real life, and just to see how much everything has changed.’

How would you like to be remembered?

Just for being me. I’ve won numerous titles in boxing but I know my biggest fights are still to come and I want people to look back and remember those fights, and remember me through them. I’d also like to be remembered for what I did outside of boxing too. A lot of people know my history with my heart operation when I was little, and I’ve done a lot of work with the British Heart Foundation and that’s something I’m really proud of.

‘If I can be remembered for helping people, and just being a nice person, then I’m more than happy with that.’

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