Sheffield to host world's first drive-in boxing show
In what could well be a world-first, Sheffield promoter Dennis Hobson is set to stage a British title fight, complete with a drive-in audience.
Hobson, who has worked with numerous world champions, has announced that Sheffield fighters Tommy Frank and Kyle Yousaf will contest the British Flyweight Championship in the car park at Sheffield Arena on November 20, live on Eurosport, and with fans watching all the action from the comfort and safety of their cars.
Hobson, who has been looking for ways to keep his stable of fighters busy during the coronavirus pandemic, has explored a number of options, and decided on the innovative drive-in option as the best way to negotiate the current sporting restrictions and get his boxers back in action.
"I've been involved in boxing at all levels, and have staged shows from Rotherham to Las Vegas, but I think we could well be making history with this one," explained Hobson. "Obviously this pandemic has seriously affected everybody's lives, and it's been a very difficult time. The sports world has been massively hit, and that includes boxing, with a few shows going ahead with no audience and lots of restrictions.
"I've been looking at different ways to get my fighters back to work, and when the drive-in idea was suggested I thought it was workable. The fighters get back to boxing, fans can come along and watch the show live, and Eurosport will have a smashing card to broadcast.
"This fight between Tommy and Yousaf is going to be terrific. They're all-action, both are unbeaten, it's for the prestigious British title, and both lads are from Sheffield, so it has that extra spice. Neither of these kids are going to want to lose this one. Whoever comes out on top will obviously go onto bigger things, but the loser can definitely come again too.
"Tommy is my fighter, and he's been unlucky. We lined up the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) World Title shot for him in February, but that fell through because of the pandemic. So, this is another great opportunity. Tommy is the ultimate professional, has all the talent, and I'm confident that he'll have a bit too much for Yousaf. What I can guarantee though, is that it will be a fantastic fight to watch for the fans."
Tommy Frank, 13-0 (3), is a fighter on the up. 'Super' Tommy already has Commonwealth, World Boxing Council, and IBO titles on his mantelpiece, and was due to face Mexico's Maximino Flores for the IBO World Flyweight title before the pandemic hit. Putting that disappointment behind him, the 27-year-old, is focused on beating his Sheffield rival, and holding aloft the belt that every British fighter wants to win.
At 16-0 (7), Yousaf will enter the contest with a marginally better record than Frank. Also 27, Kyle has been a pro since 2015, and fights under the tutelage of Grant Smith, father of rising Sheffield star, Dalton. With the likes of Sunny Edwards and brother, former WBC World Champion Flyweight king, Charlie in his camp, Kyle says his preparation for the fight will be perfect, and is predicting a hard-fought but victorious night.
"All I'm visualising is the Lord Lonsdale Belt," said Tommy. It's something I've always wanted since turning pro, and I'm very thankful to Dennis [Hobson] and Steve [Crump] for the opportunity. Just to be boxing in 2020 is great, I'm a lucky man and very excited.
"This is going to be a massive night, and a very tough fight. We're both young, unbeaten and hungry. He's a very good fighter, and I give him massive credit, but I believe that will bring the best out of me. I want to fight the best out there; I only want to be in good competitive fights. I believe I'll put in my best performance to date, and I'll turn some heads. He's got a fast and explosive style and that will make for a brilliant fight for the fans. I know that when I beat Kyle, I'll get a lot of credit for the win."
In return, Kyle stated: "Winning the British Title has always been one of my dreams, to be the best of British would mean so much to me. Of course, my ambition is to become world champion, but I'm not looking ahead or past this British Title fight.
"I know Tommy, he's a good fighter. I have a good opponent in front of me, I wish him all the best and there are no hard feelings. When it comes to fight night though, we'll both be wanting the win. I love training with Grant Smith, everyone's on a high in the gym, and I have two fighters - Sunny and Charlie Edwards - who I get the best sparring from. We all push each other, and when you train with the best you only get better. I'm always confident, I'll train hard, and know I'm going to win."