Dennis Hobson column: Discussing boxing safety, forthcoming fights for Tommy Frank and Josh Wale and Atif Shafiq’s journey
It is a year since the death of Scott Westgarth. A lot has been done to make boxing as safe as possible - are you satisfied everything that can be done has been done?
Scott was such a lovely lad; what happened was a tragedy. But, in terms of boxing, we are the safest country in the world, and the British Board have done everything possible to make boxing as safe as they can.
Tommy Frank - tell us about his Commonwealth opponent and what sort of fight is expected?
Tommy v Luke Wilton is a cracking fight for a meaningful title. This opponent is a step-up again for Tommy, he’s fighting a very experienced kid. It’ll be the making of Tommy. Obviously, I believe he’ll do the business, but this is a massive marker to see where Tommy is, and if he’s as good as we think he is. We’ve also got some good kids on the undercard. There’s Michael Gomez Jr who’s a talent; Richard Towers is training a Swedish fighter – he’s actually a Blades fan - who is currently 7-0 called ‘Red One’ who will be making his debut with us and we believe he is world class; Keanen Wainwright is one to watch out for, he’s nicknamed ‘The Wolf’ and is a big puncher who we’re expecting a lot from. I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop.
Josh Wale is back in the ring on Friday can you see him picking himself up after his European title loss last year?
Josh is a lovely fella. I’ve pulled one or two strings and helped to manoeuvre him into title shots during his career. I helped with this upcoming British title opportunity; I helped (opponent) Brad Foster with the opportunity to fight for the vacant title and then Stefy Bull managed to get Josh in there. So, I’ve helped indirectly, and I’ve got an interest in Brad Foster who’s fighting Josh. It’s a tough assignment for Brad but Josh is stepping back up to super bantamweight. Is he as strong there? He’s got all the experience to beat Brad, but is Brad too fresh for him? It’ll be interesting.
Atif Shafiq has left the Ingle gym so where now do you see his career going?
Why change something that wasn’t broken?. He was in good company, you’ve got Kid Galahad and Billy Joe Saunders at that gym. I don’t know the reasons why he’s left. I wish him well, he’s a smashing lad; I’m not sure where his career is going. He was knocking on the door for titles but a fighter has got to be happy, and if he’s not then he won’t achieve what he could.