Sheffield boxing: No going back for the building site labourer
The defining moment in amateur boxer Tommy Frank's life happened as he was '˜navvying' on a Sheffield building site.
Suddenly, he downed tools, sauntered over to his boss and told him he was off...to become a professional boxer.
The son of a plumber, who had trained at Castle College in the arts of fixing pipes, valves and water tanks was determined to chase his dream, no matter what the financial risks were of walking out on a steady career.
Frank, from Intake, Sheffield went on to make his debut in the paid ranks in July, this year, recording a four-round points win over Estonian Sergey Tasimov on the Sam Sheedy v Andrew Robinson bill at Rotherham’s Magna Centre. He fights again tonight.
The 23-year-old super flyweight recalls: “Turning professional was definitely the best day of my life.
“My last amateur fight had been in May and although it came quickly, it was a great opportunity to get on Sam’s undercard.
“It is all a bit of a blur now, but it was definitely the best night ever, as all I’ve ever wanted is to become a professional boxer.
“I wanted to perform well but the most important thing was settling nerves, getting through it and winning. Now I have got the ball rolling I will be more settled and enjoy it even more.”
He gets the chance tonight at Sheffield United’s Platinum Suite, when he faces opponent Jordan Turner, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
Frank, who won half of his 45 amateur fights, has been training at Hillsborough’s Sheffield Boxing Centre since he was 12 and is confident his background and preparation will take him past his second opponent so he can move on to bigger challenges.
“I made that decision to quit labouring so that I could give everything to boxing and I mean to do that for as long as I can” he says.
“That day, I was on a house building job in Broomhill, I just told them I was going and walked off the site.
“Boxing can be hard (financially) but I have sold 100 tickets for Friday and I am very grateful to supporters who have forked out at this time of the year and to my sponsors - I really want to put on a good show for them.
“I am not worried about winning - I have already paid the price in training and I know I will win, I am just bothered about putting on a good enough performance to make people want to come back and watch me again.”
Show co-promoter AJ Jobson has publicly described Frank as a “thinking boxer.”
The fighter said: “I think he means that I am not a one punch knockout artist...and I do like to use my boxing to brain.
“But I also like to think I can hit hard for the weight (8st 3lbs.) When I start sitting down on my shots I will put people away but for now I do what needs to be done. If I can get my opponent out of there, I will do.”
His Sutton opponent - who was beaten by Sheffield’s Loua Nassa this year - has a W2 L2 D1 record, which sends out a message to Frank.
“The big thing for me is that I am excited top be up against somebody who is obviously coming to win.
“It is very hard to put on a good performance against a journeyman whose sole intention is to survive and fight again next week and get paid. It is hard to look good against them. He is coming to win and that is what I wanted.”
The Dennis Hobson bill includes another, more established Sheffield super flyweight Kyle Yousaf (9 0 0) against an unnamed opponent and promising, unbeaten Eckington cruiserweight Joss Paul, who is looking for his sixth straight win.
Hobson says: “This show is about young, upcoming talent; there’s a lot coming through in Sheffield and we’re trying to build a new platform for them. Bramall Lane is a good venue, it’s an intimate dinner show and it will be a great atmosphere.”