No title defence, no change of mindset for focused Tommy Frank

He may no longer be defending his Commonwealth title on Friday night but Tommy Frank insists he will enter the ring with a champion’s mindset.

By Liam Hoden
Thursday, 04 July, 2019, 17:36
Tommy Frank (left) goes face to face with opponent John Chuwa at Thursday's weigh-in. Picture: Dennis Hobson Promotions

Frank had been set to put his Commonwealth super flyweight title on the line against Jemsi Kibazange at Ponds Forge, only for the Tanzanian to suffer problems with his visa as he prepared to depart for Sheffield earlier this week.

Promoter Dennis Hobson worked quickly to draft in a replacement, securing an agreement with another Tanzanian in John Chuwa who has won 17 of his 20 fights.

But as Chuwa suffered defeat in his last fight – a points defeat to Scotland’s Ross Murray for the WBC International Silver light flyweight title – the Commonwealth Boxing Council refused to sanction Friday’s contest as a title defence.

Frank is unfazed by the late switch and while disappointed not to be making his first defence, says his mentality will be as though his title is up for grabs.

“I’ve prepared to defend my title and that is how I’m treating this one,” the Intake fighter told The Star.

“I’ll have that same hunger and determination that I would have.

“I’ve put a lot of work and preparation into being right for this fight and putting on a show. Thankfully, with the efforts of Dennis and Steve Crump, that’s not all going to waste.

“It was a bit of a nightmare at the start of the week and we didn’t know if I’d be fighting but it got sorted out pretty quickly and it’ll be a decent ten rounder.

“So I’m still on, I’m still headlining it, still on live TV and I'm still going to out on a good show and get another win.”

Frank has spoken regularly of not focusing too much on the opponent in training camps and says the late change of opponent has provided no real headaches.

He said: “It wouldn’t ever really worry me but this one has been pretty simple.

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“He’s got a very similar style to the kid I was supposed to be fighting originally so the little things that we have worked on in the gym, we can still use.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s another one on FreeSports TV for me and it’s always great to be a part of that.”

Promoter Hobson has been working on moving Frank up levels following this contest, with a recent trip to the IBF’s annual conference raising several possibilities.

Also potentially on the cards for the 25-year-old is a clash with Sheffield-trained Sunny Edwards, who fights for the the IBF International title in London next weekend.

For now, Frank is focused purely on Friday night and says whatever comes next will be in the hands of his team.

“It'd be a mistake to look past this one so I’ve not given any thought to what comes next,” he said.

“I’ve got plenty of options and I’ll fight whoever is put in front of me but that will be down to my team, to Dennis, Steve and Glyn Rhodes.”

Also on Friday’s bill, Barnsley’s Josh Wale will step up to featherweight to face Ekow Wilson in a Commonwealth title eliminator.

Sheffield trio Kane Salvin, Keanen Wainwright and Sufyaan Ahmed will also be in action.

For tickets for Friday night’s bill, call (0114) 2434443.