Boxing: Promoter Hobson believes Sheffield fighter Tommy Frank can join illustrious list of IBO winners
Promoter Dennis Hobson says he’s excited by the upcoming IBO World Flyweight battle between Sheffield’s Tommy Frank and Mexican Maximino Flores on March 27 – and considers the bout a real world title challenge.
The pair meet at Ponds Forge on March 27 and in this week’s Q&A with The Star, Hobson is keen to highlight the prestige IBO titles carry with them given the history behind them.
Q: Do you consider it a real world title?
Dennis Hobson: Well, look at all the fighters over the years who have held an IBO World Title – there’s Chris Eubank Jr, Golovkin, Saul Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Anthony Joshua. So, if they all consider it a world title that speaks for itself.
It’s a crazy question, and I can tell you that the sanctioning fees we’ve had to pay tell me it’s a proper world title! The IBO have rules and regulations and if you don’t qualify then you don’t fight for their world title, and if you look at their ratings, they’re as stringent as any boxing body in the world. Of course I value it, and that’s why we’re putting on another world title in Sheffield.
Q: Tommy Frank is at the forefront of your current stable - who do you think is next behind him in the queue?
DH: The stable is growing. We’ve got Kash Ali who has not long joined us, and he’s working well with my pal, Richard Towers. I think Kash will be in the mix for titles. I’ve just teamed up with Adam Etches who has some quality lads. I have high hopes for Keanen Wainwright, and I’ve just made a smashing match for the March 27 show between Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed for the Central Area Title – that’s two undefeated Sheffield kids we’re putting in together to see who comes out on top.
We’ve also got Josh Wale, who I believe is just a couple of fights away from a world title. It wasn’t so long ago that some people thought Josh was on the scrapheap, but he’s now in the best form of his life and not far away from something very big. A while ago, I mentioned the possibility of Josh [Wale] fighting Josh Warrington, and a few people scoffed. Well, they might not be scoffing in a couple of fights time, because that’s how quickly the boxing world can turn around.
Q: Which current other Sheffield fighter, not from your stable, are you most impressed with?
DH: I like Dalton Smith, who’s turned pro with Matchroom. I’d like to have signed Dalton because I think he’s class inside and outside the ring. They think they’ve made the right decision going with Matchroom, and maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. I think he’d have been better off coming with me, as I’d have taken a personal interest in him, he wouldn’t have just been a number, and the money would’ve come. Look at Jamie McDonnell, I got him to the top, he then signs with Matchroom and has to start fighting away to earn decent money, and he’s made a mess of it. I do rate Dalton though, and I wish him well and look forward to watching his career closely.
Q: In a podcast interview with Tris Dixon, Sheffield’s former world champion Clinton Woods said that Joe Calzaghe's style would have been all wrong for him. This is a fight you tried to make - do you agree with Clinton's assessment?
DH: Well, styles make fights, but I think – on his day – that Clinton might have been too big and strong for Joe. It would have been a tough fight and a memorable one, if Clinton was in the right frame of mind. Towards the end of his career, I lost Clinton a little bit and he switched off and lost some of his positivity, because I used to mentor him. I think he could have done with a sports psychologist by the time of the Antonio Tarver fight. I think he’d have been out-boxed against Joe but would have taken him into the trenches, and it would have been a close fight. It would have been a rough and tough fight, and wouldn’t have been pretty but Clinton would have given him a great fight. So, I don’t agree with Clinton. If he’d stayed positive he would have given Joe all the problems, and it would have been Joe’s toughest fight.