Dennis Hobson's boxing column: Tommy Frank for Sheffield United - can he be a knockout striker?

You recently suggested a new link between Tommy Frank and Sheffield United. What tangibly can Tommy offer the Blades? How do you see the new relationship?

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 06 June, 2019, 09:32
Josh Wale and Dennis Hobson

Well, Tommy has always been very good with his feet, and United are looking for a new striker. So, he might fill that role - he'd be good for the last 10 minutes, he'll either score a goal or get sent off for punching someone, like I used to! Tommy is undefeated, he's just won a Commonwealth title, and United have just been promoted – so it's a mutual tie-up. Success breeds success, and Tommy is an absolute role model.

He would be an inspiration to any young kid coming through their academy. It's a different sport but the principles are the same - you get out what you put in, and Tommy is a prime example of that. I am also sure that plenty of the players will be boxing fans so, it would be great to see the players and fans getting behind Tommy. He is a massive United fan. If he keeps improving, he could be on the world scene shortly, and I'd love to put a world title fight on at Sheffield United.

How much work is John Fewkes doing in the Gleadless community right now? With no Kell Brook fight in the offing, what would you like to see him concentrating on?

I would put my house on John being a success. He's the new generation of trainers. He's developing young kids who I believe will go on to win titles, at all levels across the board. He's a young man with a magnetic personality and can get the best out of people. When I played football there were certain managers I'd run through a brick wall for, and he has that personality to get the best out of people.

Which Sheffield gym can consider itself the top dog at the moment - the organisation with the best boxers, biggest ambitions and closest attachment to its area?

Obviously, I’d say my own, I've produced, or helped develop, as many, if not more, champions in Sheffield than anyone. But, obviously, Brendan Ingle was the pioneer who put Sheffield boxing on the map.

Tommy Frank, centre, with Lee Edwards and Shawn Malcom

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The premier gym in Sheffield at the moment, for me, is Glyn Rhodes' Sheffield Boxing Centre. Grant Smith has also done fantastically; Dalton Smith has a chance of winning something; I really like him. Charlie and Sunny Edwards are quality kids and he's made a name for himself by helping develop them.

But, taking kids from nothing and developing them into fighters, I believe that Glyn is in front of everybody, and also because of the work he does in the community.

But we're all breathing down his neck. Dominic Ingle has followed on from his dad, but others like Fewkes are coming through.

It is just over a year now since Sheffield boxing lost Brendan. He was such a great promoter of the sport and the city - is there anybody ever likely to have the same presence in this area...or are we lacking in such characters?

Anthony Joshua at Sheffield Boxing Centre, jokingly trading with Glyn Rhodes

Glyn Rhodes is a real character. And as a young man, I can’t see anybody with the special gift that John Fewkes has to connect with people. You might say I'm biased, but John has a very special motivational gift and character. And you have to respect him because he’s been in the ring and done it. Glyn's got it too, and I think he's been unlucky not to have had world champions.

Your next show?

Tommy Frank will be fighting Jemsi Kibazange from Tanzania, defending his Commonwealth title, and Josh Wale will be fighting in a Commonwealth eliminator against Ekow Wilson, from Ghana. They will both be good scraps, and we’ve also got Tyrone Nurse on, a former British champion, who is joining our stable. We'll be trying to rejuvenate his career and getting him in title contention again.