Sheffield boxing champion’s new “empire” builder Tommy Frank stuns his own trainer

Tommy Frank is the new "ruler" of the Commonwealth - an association of 53 countries and almost two and a half billion citizens.

By Bob Westerdale
Saturday, 16th March 2019, 7:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th March 2019, 7:03 pm
Tommy Frank and Luke Wilton
Tommy Frank and Luke Wilton

Not many of those people will know his name.

There are some in his native Sheffield who don't.

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But all that is about to change, after the Sheffield Boxing Centre fighter, 25, celebrated his 10th fight by winning the vacant Commonwealth superflyweight title.

He stopped Belfast-based Luke 'Winky' Wilton, 30, at Ponds Forge, after putting him on the canvas four times.

Referee Michael Alexander, of Doncaster, moved in to stop further punishment in the fourth round and Frank was ready to acclaim his growing fan-base.

It had been Red Nose day - and Wilton had got far worse than one of those.

Tommy Frank and belt

For a fighter with a record of 26 bouts, some against top quality opponents, it was a humbling experience, which may see his career now peter out.

Frank's trainer Glyn Rhodes had suggested before the fight that his man might not have developed the "man-strength" he'd have liked at 25.

"Obviously I got that wrong," said Rhodes.

"I'd thought Wilton would be stronger and I was shocked to see Tommy had turned into a little devil - a monster. When he put this kid on his backside in the first round, I thought: 'Where did that come from?'

"Perhaps, I'd got stuck in my mind the image of him joining our gym at 11 years old.

"But he took Wilton into deep water and showed himself to be a class act."

Frank started the Dennis Hobson bout as he meant to go on, throwing nasty left hooks amongst a mix of shots.

His first big right hand, delivered from planted feet, did the damage after around 90 seconds.

Wilton went down again, but got up again and competed bravely - it seemed he'd recovered.

But by round four a body shot put the Belfast boy down and after another brush with the canvas, Alexander Alexander waved it off.

Later, Frank said the fight "could not have gone any better.

"I thought it would be tougher - no disrespect to Luke. I knew I'd hurt him, tried to be patient, bided my time and got there.

"A lot of people didn't think I'd win this fight, but I did. This is just the start of the journey."

Hobson added: "Tommy surprised me. Nobody has done this to Luke Wilton. That was world class."

Former world champion Glenn McCrory noted: "Sheffield has a new star, I see him going far."