Promoter Dennis Hobson has warned that Tommy Frank faces a real threat from Luke Wilton, as the pair prepare to contest the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title on March 15 at Sheffield Ponds Forge Arena.
With TV exposure coming via Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 533; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64), local man Frank and Belfast’s Wilton will both be desperate to claim their first major title.
Frank, aged 25, may be the younger and far less experienced man heading into the contest but, unbeaten at 9-0 (1), has momentum behind him having decisively won a Commonwealth title eliminator in October last year against Tanzania’s Adam Yahaya.
Wilton has 20 wins from 26 fights but will be buoyed knowing he has been in with far better company than Tommy, having previously boxed – though lost to – current WBC World Flyweight Champion Charlie Edwards, former IBF World Bantamweight king Lee Haskins, and former British Flyweight Champ Kevin Satchell.
Hobson has an exclusive deal with Freesports and has served up some memorable matches already on the free-to-air channel including Liam Cameron’s demolition of Sam Sheedy in their Commonwealth Middleweight Title fight, Josh Wale’s British Bantamweight Title stoppage win over Bobby Jenkinson, and Jason Cunningham’s Central Area Super Bantamweight win over Paul Economides. With the first bell just hours away, Hobson is convinced that Frank versus Wilton will also be another TV spectacular.
“This is a potential banana skin fight on paper, and I don’t think you can say Tommy is a firm favourite,” said Hobson. “It’s more or less a 50-50. But I believe in Tommy, we all do – me, Steve [Crump] and Glyn Rhodes. We believe he can go onto higher levels. The Commonwealth is a big title that can get you onto the world scene, but he would have to consolidate at that level, and he’s got a big test in Luke first. It’s a big ask but if we didn’t think he could make that step, we wouldn’t put him in. Don’t forget Luke has just fallen short against the likes of current world champion, Charlie Edwards. So, he has quality and unless Tommy is the fighter we think he is, he will struggle.
“This will absolutely be a great TV fight for Freesports. It’s a great match up and we’ve delivered again. I’ll be extremely surprised if this doesn’t live up to all expectations. It’s a smashing fight, it’s free to view, and it’s there to challenge anything else you’ll be seeing on television. The last Sky TV show also featured a Commonwealth Title fight, and I think this fight is as good as what they’re putting on.”
“I’m very excited ahead of this show,” reiterated Steve Crump, Hobson’s boxing partner, “because we’ve got a couple of new fighters coming through on the undercard, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform and what they can offer in the future. I’m also really excited about the Tommy Frank fight and very confident he will become the new Commonwealth Champion.
“It’s a tough fight for Tommy, we all know that. We believe he can show his mettle though and come through, which is obviously the next step up for him. His opponent has a good pedigree but hopefully Tommy can make a statement by showing he can mix with these more experienced fighters, and deliver a win.”
Luke Wilton admits he is drinking in the last-chance saloon, as he prepares to face Tommy Frank for the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title on March 15, live on Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 533; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64).
With 26 bouts under his belt – 20 wins – the Belfast man heads into the contest the far more experienced fighter; with Tommy a relative novice at 9-0 (1).
Luke has lost two previous attempts at title level though and knows, aged 30, that another is unlikely to come his way again if he doesn’t manage to beat Frank at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena.
Although his opponent has home advantage, Wilton isn’t fazed. A pro since 2008, Luke has been in with far better opposition, having previously faced current WBC World Flyweight Champion Charlie Edwards, former IBF World Bantamweight king Lee Haskins, and former British Flyweight Champ Kevin Satchell – albeit losing to all three.
Ahead of the pivotal career contest, Luke says his focus is purely on getting himself right for the fight, and that he is confident that he will make it third time lucky and claim his first belt.
“I don’t know too much on Tommy because he hasn’t been around that long,” stated Luke.
“I don’t study opponents anyway, I leave that to my coach. I’ll take the fight as it comes for the first couple of rounds and adjust. I’m a box-fighter, I can do both – box and fight. I’ll just concentrate on me, and if I’m the best Luke Wilton, then I’ll win the title.
“Of course, I have to look at this as my last chance at a big title. I’m 30 now and there aren’t many flyweights or super flyweights at my age. So, you have to look at it like that. That gives me an extra incentive though. This will be my third chance at a title and will probably be my last.
“I’m looking forward to fighting in Sheffield. I’ve got a good squad coming over with me and they’ll make plenty of noise. And I’m pleased it’s going to be live on Freesports, that’s more exposure for me and for the sport.”
Headlining at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on March 15, live on Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 533; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64) will be local man Tommy Frank taking on Northern Ireland’s Luke Wilton for the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title.
Alongside the bill-topper is a strong undercard including three unbeaten Sheffield fighters who will all be having their second pro outings – Sufyaan Ahmed, Keanen Wainwright and Kane Salvin.
Also appearing on the card are two more experienced operators in Michael Gomez Jr and Redouane Kaya.
Manchester’s Gomez Jr is looking to edge to 10-0, when he makes his first outing of 2019 at Ponds Forge. Gomez – son of former British and WBU ‘World’ Super Featherweight Champion, Michael Gomez – turned pro back in 2014, and wants to ratch his career up a gear this year. The 24-year-old – who rejects any comparison with his famous fighting father – says he wants to put on an exciting performance for the Sheffield fans, and believes titles are within his grasp.
“My main goal is to stay active, and I’d like to have at least three fights this year,” explained Gomez, who has three KOs on his record, and says he is looking for titles at anywhere between bantamweight to super featherweight. “I’m doing a six rounder on this show, and think I’m three or four fights away from being in proper title fights. I feel like I’m levels above the fighters I’m boxing at the moment. I’ll destroy this next opponent then have a good chat with Dennis [Hobson] to see where we go from there.
“[My dad] has done what he has, and I’m doing what I do. People always compare, whether I’m going to do this or that. From a young age I’ve had that pressure. I had a good 16-month break, and matured a bit. I had a fight in Leeds that I won, then I had a first-round stoppage [October 2018], and now I believe it’s time for me to make my own path. The pressure is always going to be there. I now realise that what he did, and what I’m going to do, are two different things, and as of right now, no one can really judge.”
Redounae Kaya will be making his UK debut on the Ponds Forge show. The Swedish fighter had a stellar 170-fight amateur career, and is currently undefeated as a pro, 7-0 (1). After having had all his pro contests in his native Sweden, the 30-year-old is now trained by former heavyweight Richard Towers, and wants to impress British fight fans as he looks to kickstart his career on these shores.
“I made contact with Richard through Dennis Hobson,” explained Kaya. “We started training and I like his mindset because he’s been a boxer and he knows how a boxer thinks, and the training is amazing.
“I’m really looking forward to the show, very much. Now I can leave Sweden! I can get bigger fights in the UK, go up the rankings and take the belts. Boxing was illegal in Sweden until 2007, and you can only fight four rounds unless you apply for more rounds, and then you might not get it.
“I haven’t seen much of Sheffield yet, just the training facilities! But it’s very different from Sweden, I can say that. I’m looking forward to appearing in the UK though, and I hope everyone will be happy to see me fight.”
Promoter Dennis Hobson said: “I’m very much looking forward to watching these two fighters perform. We’re looking for Michael to step up. Hopefully this’ll be more of a test for him, and then we’ll up the ante after this fight. It will be good to see how he’s developed since his last outing. His pedigree speaks for itself, I think he’s a bit more stylish than his dad, who was more about tempo and momentum. He’s a talent though and hopefully he will fulfil his potential. We’ll be looking at eliminators after this fight, if all goes well.
“Redouane is another talent. He was a world class amateur, and he’s someone we’re hoping we can push onto bigger things very quickly. He’s been training with Richard for these last five weeks and he’s been down at Adam Booth’s sparring with the likes of Michael Conlan. So, he should be sharp for this UK debut. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he performs. I believe he’s the real deal, but want to see him in real life.”
Despite having just a solitary KO victory on his nine-fight record, Sheffield’s Tommy Frank will soon start finishing more opponents early, believes trainer, Glyn Rhodes.
Frank headlines at his home city’s Ponds Forge Arena on March 15, fighting for the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title against Luke Wilton, live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95, Virgin 553).
Rhodes, who trains Tommy out of the Sheffield Boxing Centre, says confidence is the key as he prepares to guide his fighter into his most important fight to date.
“Tommy’s a young kid, just turned 25,” explained former pro, Glyn. “This’ll be his tenth fight coming up. He’s a very good kid. He trains hard, is likeable and he sells tickets. So, fingers crossed, we’re looking forward to a bright future together, and a great journey. He’s topping the bill again in his home town, I think he’s done it three times now, and not many fighters can say that. Ponds Forge Arena is a great venue too, and some great local fighters have appeared there like Clinton Woods, Paul Jones, Ryan Rhodes, and Naz. I’ve seen some great fights there and am looking forward to this next show.
“Tommy’s power isn’t an issue. In the gym, he’s punching really hard. So you say to yourself, ‘why isn’t he knocking guys out’? The reason being that he just hasn’t got the confidence yet to plant his feet. It’s been safety-first tactics up to now, which I can understand because he’s only had nine fights. He has only stopped one guy but trust me he can punch hard. I’m not saying he’s a one-hit puncher but once he gets the confidence to stand and let his shots go, he’ll start stopping a few kids.”
Wilton will provide a real acid test for the ‘Steel City’ fighter. The man from Northern Ireland – with 26 fights (20 wins) under his belt – is far more experienced and has shared a ring with current world flyweight champion Charlie Edwards, former world bantamweight champ Lee Haskins, and former British and Commonwealth flyweight king Kevin Satchell. Wilton lost to all three, and if Tommy is to go anywhere in the sport then he will also need to chalk up a victory over the Belfast fighter.
“This is a very tough fight for Tommy. Luke is a tough kid, he’s been in with far more experienced fighters than Tommy has, and he’s only really lost to the best kids. It could be a banana skin fight for us. People have said, if you win all well and good, but if you lose you’ve put him in too early. But at what point do you let a guy off the leash? At Tommy’s weight, it’s not like you can pick and choose because there aren’t that many guys around.
“Luke is far more experienced but has always failed when it comes to top level, and Tommy is a top-level fighter. So, hopefully on the night it’ll work out OK. Luke is a come forward fighter, he’ll make a fight of it, and that’s exactly what we want. I think it’ll be great to watch because Tommy is a smart fighter, and Luke is a typical Irish fighter that comes forward. It’ll gel to make a great TV fight.”
Despite facing an opponent change in his first shot at a major title, Sheffield’s Tommy Frank says he will rise to the challenge and claim the Commonwealth Super Flyweight belt on March 15 at the Ponds Forge Arena.
Unbeaten Frank, 9-0 (1), was originally slated to face Scotland’s Ross Murray, 9-2 (1), but will now take on vastly more experienced Belfast man, Luke Wilton – with the clash being broadcast live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95, Virgin 553).
On paper, Wilton represents Tommy’s toughest test to date. The Northern Irish fighter has lost just five times in 26 outings, and been stopped only once – by former world champion, Lee Haskins. The 30-year-old has also previously fought for the British Flyweight crown, losing on points to highly-rated Scouser Kevin Satchell, and traded blows with current world flyweight champ Charlie Edwards, losing over the 10-round distance in 2016.
Promoter and manager, Dennis Hobson, believes Tommy has the potential to make waves on the world scene in the future, but has warned that Wilton is a genuine test who could derail those ambitions. Frank acknowledges the danger but insists he will put on a performance that will have the boxing public ‘sitting up and taking notice’.
“I definitely think he’s a tougher opponent than Ross Murray,” said the 25-year-old. “He’s a good fighter and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. The better the opponent in front of me though, the better I’ll be. Luke will come to Sheffield and give it a real go because this might be his last push at really doing something in boxing. So, he’s going to really want this title, but that will be perfect for me.
“I haven’t seen a lot of him, I’m just concentrating on being the best Tommy Frank on the night. I never make predictions, my only prediction is to win the fight but because he’s going to come and give his all, it will be ideal for me to let my hands go a bit more. With those 8oz gloves on, when I hit him, I’ll hurt him, one hundred per cent. We’ll see how the fight goes, I’ll be prepared for 12 rounds but if I catch him, I will hurt him.
“Luke is a well-known fighter, he’s boxed at a top level and apart from a couple of early career defeats, he’s only been beaten by good kids. So, it would be a great name to have on my record, and it will make people sit up and see what I’m all about. He’ll come and give it a real go, but will be going home disappointed.”
Sheffield’s Tommy Frank will face a new opponent in his shot at the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title on March 15, after the withdrawal of Ross Murray.
Undefeated Frank, 9-0 (1), will now battle Luke Wilton at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena, with the contest being broadcast live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95, Virgin 553).
Experienced Wilton represents a step up for Tommy. The Belfast-based fighter has only been beaten five times in 26 outings, and has been the distance with former British Flyweight king Kevin Satchell, as well as current WBC World Flyweight champion, Charlie Edwards.
Promoter and manager Dennis Hobson is expecting an acid test for his charge, but believes Frank has the ability to eventually move onto world honours.
“We’d agreed the fight with Ross Murray, and I don’t know if they thought Tommy was a step too far, but they’ve come back and said they want to now campaign at light-flyweight,” explained Hobson. “I just wonder if they thought they’d bitten off more than they can chew though. It’s not very professional but good luck to Ross and I hope he does well.
“Luke Wilton has now been confirmed by the Commonwealth Board. This is a tougher assignment than the original opponent, but when you fight for a meaningful title you have to be willing to fight whoever is put in front of you, which Tommy is willing to do. Luke is a lot more experienced, so we’ll find out what Tommy is all about against this credible opponent.
“This is also a big opportunity for Luke, so credit to him for stepping up to the plate. I’m confident in Tommy though. As a promoter I just want to put good fights on, which this will be. Glyn [Rhodes – Tommy’s trainer] wants to test Tommy, we believe in him and I believe he has enough in his tank to win and then consolidate at this level. But this is a big step for him.”
“I’m over the moon that Dennis and Steve Crump have worked so hard to get me this title shot, I’m very grateful,” said Frank. “It’s a brilliant title, and a stepping stone to bigger things. If you look at the calibre of fighters that have won the Commonwealth, it’s a massive title. It will open up a lot of doors for me and get me noticed, but first I have to come through against Luke Wilton.”
Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with J&J Crump & Son, present an evening of boxing at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on March 15. Topping the bill will be Sheffield’s Tommy Frank and Belfast’s Luke Wilton contesting the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title.
Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with JJ Crump, present an evening of boxing at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on March 15. Topping the bill will be Sheffield’s Tommy Frank and Belfast’s Luke Wilton contesting the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title.
Appearing on the undercard will be Manchester’s Michael Gomez Jr; Sheffield’s Kane Salvin, Keanen Wainwright; Chris Dutton, and Sufyaan Ahmed; and Sweden’s Redouane Kaya.
For ticket information, call 0114 243 4443.
The show will be televised live at 9pm on Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 533; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64).