Tommy Frank came through the toughest fight of his career on September 20 to claim the World Boxing Council International Silver Super Flyweight Title against Aran Dipaen.
The local favourite (pictured alongside Steve Crump and Dennis Hobson) and his Thai opponent served up a cracking 12 round battle at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena to wow the packed venue, and the watching viewers on Freesports.
Dipaen came into the contest having only been a pro for a year but with a decent record of six wins, five KOs, from seven contests. It was clear from the opening bell though that the 28-year-old had far more ring experience than his ledger suggested, and could also pack a punch.
Many of the rounds were close, with both fighters landing plenty of flush, scoring shots, but Frank rivalled everything his opponent threw at him, and continued to force the fight. The pace of the contest was lively from the opening bell and rarely let up, with both leaving everything in the ring during the final frenetic round.
At the final bell, with so many of the rounds nip-and-tuck, it was perhaps inevitable that a split decision verdict was announced. Thankfully, for Tommy, his team, and his vocal fans – the result went his way, with two of the ringside judges scoring in his favour, 116-113 and 115-113, with the other seeing it 115-113 for the visitor.
Tommy, 26, moves to 12-0 (3), and acknowledged afterwards that the fight had been a learning experience for him.
“I’ve always been very self-critical and I was a bit disappointed after the fight,” said Tommy. “I knew it was a close fight and at the final bell I had a feeling they were going to announce a split decision. But as a fighter, you know when you’ve done enough to win, and I definitely thought I’d done enough. I thought I did the cleaner work, although he did have spells, but I thought I was busier and that’s what won it for me. I knew it was a good fight to watch for the fans though.
“Up until the eighth round I was boxing OK and if I’d continued I’d have won the fight easier. For some reason though, I decided to just put my hands up and walk forwards and have a bit of a fight with him, which probably wasn’t the best thing to do. But the fighter inside me came out and I wanted to please the crowd, and that played into his hands.
“I can confidently say though that he would give any super flyweight a nightmare. I’m the first one to test the waters with him, and I can tell you he hits very hard. After the fight we learnt he’d had over 60 kick boxing fights too, so he’s been involved in combat sports for a long while and he was a very tough customer. But the experience will only improve me as a fighter because you need these kinds of fights. So, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I had to bite down on my gum shield for 12 rounds to get the win, and I’ve ticked the box doing that.
“Some great fighters have picked up this International Title on their way to becoming a world champion, like Clinton Woods, and I’m just very happy and proud to win it.”
In the co-main event, Josh Wale and his Nicaraguan opponent, Sergio Gonzalez, didn’t waste any time getting down to business in their eight-round contest. Barnsley’s Wale is never in a dull fight and he, again, gave the fans their money’s worth with a come-forward, aggressive performance from the opening bell.
Gonzalez also played his part in a very entertaining affair, throwing heavy leather at Wale constantly, with both men bleeding from head wounds during the bout. This was Josh’s second fight up at featherweight – after previously holding the British Title at Bantamweight – and the amiable Yorkshireman looked focused and strong, and is confident he can pick up more belts at the 9st limit. Referee Mark Lyson scored the contest 80-72. Josh is now 29-11-2 (14); Gonzalez moves to 10-18-5 (7).
“I felt good and I think it was a very good performance,” said Josh afterwards. “I showed my maturity and levels as it went on. I got stuck into him a bit, but I showed my boxing too, and my training team were happy. He was a dangerous guy who’d fought at a much higher weight than I have done before. So, he was a naturally bigger kid, but I felt strong, and I was hurting him. I felt good, and everything is coming together at the new weight.
“We’ve been speaking to Dennis [Hobson] about fighting in Barnsley. It’s my home town, and he knows about the fan base I have there. So, that’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Also on the bill were wins for Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse; Sheffield’s Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed; and Chesterfield’s Liam Dring.
After the show, promoter Dennis Hobson and boxing partner, Steve Crump, gave their thoughts on the night’s events. Watch the video below:
Photo credit – Sporting Captures