Boxing Blade Tommy Frank predicts Sheffield United will mirror Bournemouth’s achievement in the Premier League
Boxing champion Tommy Frank may train just down the road from Sheffield Wednesday's stadium - but his footballing loyalties lie firmly with Sheffield United.
And the Commonwealth super flyweight champion has a burning ambition to one day follow in the footsteps of Kell Brook - and defend a world title at Premier League bound Bramall Lane.
It was two years, almost to the day, that Blades' follower Brook took on rising American star Errol Spence Jr at The Lane - and things didn't go right for him, that evening.
But Frank believes his career is on the right trajectory to win him a Blades' following and, one day, a chance to shine in a ring on the United pitch.
The Sheffield Boxing Centre fighter was recently invited to parade his belt at Bramall Lane ahead of the home game against Bristol City.
“I've been a Blade all my life so it's a huge privilege to be involved with United" he said.
"Despite my training, I managed to get to pretty much every home game last season, and we've obviously had a brilliant season.
"United getting promoted is just great for the city in general, and for sport in Sheffield.
“I was at the game when we got relegated from the Premier League against Wigan, and that broke my heart. So, it’s brilliant that we’re back where we belong now. I always used to be a massive Danny Webber fan, when he was at the Lane, I was a big supporter of his.
"Obviously today we’ve got Billy Sharp, but Brian Deane was my older brother’s favourite player, I never got to see him play, unfortunately.
Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“It was just amazing to parade my belt on the pitch, such a great experience, and I'm really proud to be involved with Sheffield United. I've got United on my shorts, and I want to keep flying the flag for them.
“I really want to give the fans something else to follow and cheer about, as well as the football. I'm just a fan myself, and completely 'down to earth', and it would be great to have that crowd behind me in my career.
“I've got no doubt we'll stay up in the Premiership next season, and I'm not just saying that being hopeful.
"I really do think we've got everything and more to stay up. When you look at the likes of Bournemouth who have expanded after being promoted and have become a Premier League club, I think we'll do the same. We'll stay up, keep building and it will just keep getting better.
“The ultimate dream for me is to one day win a world title, bring it back to Sheffield and defend it at Bramall Lane, just like Kell did. I really want to do that, and what a night that would be.”
Frank, 25, is unbeaten in 10 fights. He collected the Commonwealth title in March, stopping Belfast's Luke Wilton in four rounds.
His promoter, Dennis Hobson is a die-hard Sheffield Wednesday fan. Despite that allegiance, Hobson says he has a smooth relationship with the Blades.
“I am a Wednesday fan, but I’ve known [manager] Chris Wilder and his family for years, and have a great relationship with him. I also have a great relationship with Sheffield United and the people that work there and I grew up on the same estate as many of them. Some of my family are Sheffield United fans too, so there’s a big connection there and United have always been very supportive of what we’ve done.
“With Tommy being a passionate Sheffield United fan, the club are only too willing to support him, and he is a great ambassador and role model for the sport, and for Sheffield. Tommy’s success has also coincided with this latest success of United too. So, it’s great to see. Tommy’s a breath of fresh air and a lovely lad, but when he gets in the ring he can be very clinical.
"He’s only young but is potentially the next Sheffield superstar, and I think he can go on to be a world champion. I’m looking forward to July 5 when he next fights at the Ponds Forge Arena, and hopefully we might get some Sheffield United people there to support him and see him succeed, just like their team have.”