Tommy Frank’s trainer, Glyn Rhodes (pictured), says his fighter needs to be fully focused on his African opponent when he headlines at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on Friday July 5, live on Freesports.
Sheffield United fan Frank demolished Belfast’s Luke Wilton in four rounds in March to win the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title, and will make his first defence against Tanzania’s Jemsi Kibazange, 13-3-2 (1), in his home city at Ponds Forge.
“I’m expecting the usual toughness from Kibazange,” said former pro, Rhodes. “All Africans are tough kids, aren’t they? Sometimes they come with nothing and can cause upsets, that’s the one thing I’m worried about because you can never tell. But Tommy is up for it, he’s trained hard and we’re looking forward to it.
“Tommy’s last performance was his best to date. To stop someone like Luke Wilton, who’s regarded as a tough kid, Tommy came of age that night. A lot of people were saying Tommy’s not a puncher, I know he is but I didn’t think he was going to do that to Wilton. He did a job on him. I’m hoping we’ll see a similar performance in this next fight. He’s matured, is willing to plant his feet, and he’s got more confidence from winning the title.”
Glyn plays an integral part in steering Tommy’s career, and says he is happy with the progress they are making. Although already a Commonwealth champion, and unbeaten in his pro career at 10-0 (2), the ‘Steel City’ fighter is still relatively inexperienced in the paid ranks. With fellow Sheffield-based fighter Sunny Edwards, 11-0 (4), recently claiming that Frank had pulled out of a British Title fight, Glyn refutes this and says that, when the pair do eventually meet, Tommy will come out on top.
“I never even saw the purse bids for it, so it’s alright Sunny Edwards saying we pulled out, I never even knew about it. So that’s a load of rubbish, and we don’t want to go down that road yet. I think the fight with Sunny will happen, but I think Sunny Edwards needs Tommy more than Tommy Frank needs Edwards. Tommy sells loads of tickets in Sheffield and tops the bill in his home town, whereas Sunny Edwards always seems to be on the undercard to someone else’s fights.
“We’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing, gaining experience. We’re not interested in that just yet. Maybe next year we’ll look at the British Title but we’re picking experience up in the ring. It’ll eventually be a bigger fight for both and it’ll happen further down the line because there’s no one else in the weight. If they both keep winning then, why not? Tommy is a massive ticket seller in Sheffield, Sunny doesn’t sell a ticket, no disrespect to him. And Tommy will beat him anyway.
“I watched Sunny’s last performance, he’s a lovely boxer, has a good engine, but he couldn’t break an egg. The one thing about Tommy is he’s as tough as old boots, he’s found his maturity, is planting his feet and letting his shots go. I’m not just saying it because Tommy is my fighter, but I think Tommy is the better of the two.”
Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with JJ Crump, present an evening of boxing at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on July 5. Topping the bill will be Sheffield’s Tommy Frank and Barnsley’s Josh Wale.
Appearing on the undercard will be Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse; Derbyshire’s Irvin Magno, Cory Hardy and Liam Dring; and Sheffield’s Keanen Wainwright, Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed.
For ticket information, call 0114 243 4443.
The show will be televised live on Freesports (Freeview 64; Sky 422; Virgin 553; Freesat 252; TalkTalk 64; BT 64).