A Sheffield boxer who had a hole in the heart as a child begins his professional career this weekend with his first pro fight at the Magna Centre.
Tommy Frank, 23, of Intake, turned professional in May after winning the Yorkshire amateur title at flyweight.
The Sheffield Boxing Centre debutant faces Slovakian Leonard Rafael.
It’s not been an easy journey for the boxer who had an operation to correct a hole in the heart when he was five years old. Instead of wrapping him in cotton wool his parents Christine and Kevin, encouraged him to take part in sport, and he’s been going to the Hillsborough gym since he was 12.
Now he is looking forward to a pro career twinned with a role as an ambassador for Heart Research UK.
Through the charity he’s been inspiring youngsters with congenital heart disorders so that they too can go on to have success in sport.
He says: “I am not a superstar, but I’m hoping that a child with heart problems can look up to me and realise there are really no limitations on how to succeed in sport. If I can inspire one kid to better themselves then I feel I will have achieved something.”
“I would like to think that I am proof that you can do anything you really want to if you work hard at it” he said.
“I have got this far, so why not shoot for the stars?”
His trainer and manager, Glyn Rhodes said: “He was a top class amateur who runs marathons, trains hard and is extremely fit. He’s a great kid and we all want him to succeed.”
Top of the Magna bill is Sam Sheedy v Andrew Robinson - Sheedy’s first official fight at middleweight.
“I don’t believe you automatically take power up with you when you go up in weights, but Sam is certainly very strong and I can see him winning this on points.”