Bill-toppers Tommy Frank (pictured) and Josh Wale both had early nights on July 5, beating African opposition at a packed Sheffield Ponds Forge Arena.
Barnsley’s Wale, 28-11-2 (14), was up against Ghana’s Ekow Wilson, 18-4 (16), in an eliminator for the Commonwealth Featherweight Title, and immediately set his stall out from the opening bell. Throwing shots upstairs and down, Wale soon caught Wilson with a body shot that had him on all fours and unable to recover, the contest being called off midway through the first session. Wilson was a man who, just last year, had been 10 rounds with former world bantamweight champion, Joseph Agbeko.
Scheduled to defend his Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title for the first time against Jemsi Kibazange, Frank instead faced another Tanzanian fighter, John Chuwa, 17-4 (9), with his belt not in contention.
The Sheffield fighter came out of the traps quickly in the opener but Chuwa proved elusive and not easy to catch clean. Realising the man in the opposite corner was going to take some wearing down, Tommy remained patient, stuck to his boxing and continued to walk down Chuwa as the rounds progressed. Eventually, after sustained pressure, the ‘Steel City’ fighter caught the African with a perfect left hook in round seven, that had him shaking his head and signalling he’d had enough. The official time of the stoppage was 1:47, Tommy remains unbeaten at 11-0 (3).
“I found out earlier in the week that Jemsi had something wrong with his visa and I was very disappointed not to be defending my belt,” said Tommy after the show, “but I was also very grateful to Dennis Hobson and Steve Crump for pulling together another opponent because I still topped the bill on live TV in my home city, and I’m still Commonwealth champion.
“Chuwa was actually, on paper, a tougher opponent than Jemsi, and he’d never been stopped before. He was very tough, I think I hit him with every jab I threw. I thought I’d use it to get some rounds in, grind him down steadily, and then I turned the screw in round seven and got him out of there. It was a good win, I’m the first to stop him, and it’s onwards and upwards.
“I’ll leave my future to Dennis, Steve and Glyn [Rhodes], whatever they choose for me, that’s what we’ll do, but I’m sure we’ll end up with more titles, possibly in my next fight. We’re building my profile every fight, getting the fans behind me, and I’m really enjoying it.”
Also, post-fight, Josh Wale, said: “It was a great performance. He had a good record, and he’d only lost to world-class opponents. I expected him to be tough, but when I felt I hurt him I carried on. We’d been practising body shot to wear him down, and when I hit him cleanly I knew he wouldn’t be able to take many, and then he was down.
“I felt so much stronger in there at featherweight, and I think that showed in this fight. I was much happier and had more energy. It was my first fight with Dennis Hobson, and I put a real performance on, probably one of the best of my career. It was a massive statement. We’re sitting down with Dennis next week, we’ll see what his plans are but I’m happy to box absolutely anybody in the division.”
Also on the bill, Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse got back to winning ways with a unanimous six round victory over Catalonia-based Nicaraguan, Oscar Amador. Former British light-middleweight champion Nurse showed the skills and footwork he is renowned for, with Amador having no answer to the movement and punch variety in front of him.
The shock of the night saw Keanen Wainwright beaten by Estonia’s Boris Shikunov. The East European only had one win (two draws) from five contests coming into the bout, but his performance belied his patchy record. Wainwright seemed to get into a firefight with Shikunov, but came off second best on too many occasions, including taking a count from a body shot in the fourth and final round. It’s still early days for the Sheffield fighter, whose record is now 1-1 (1).
The rest of the card saw points wins for Buxton’s Irvin Magno, and Sheffield’s Kane Salvin, and Sufyaan Ahmed. While, Derbyshire’s Cory Hardy and Walsall’s Kearon Thomas shared a draw.
After the show, promoter Dennis Hobson and boxing partner, Steve Crump, discussed the night’s events – watch the video below: