Beneath the opulence of Wembley the small hall classics remain; Tommy Frank steps up

With every passing stadium fight, with the new disciples boxing attracts through those seminal occasions, the memory of how the boxing landscape used to be seems lodged in ever fewer of us. Which isn’t to begrudge the progress and popularity boxing now enjoys nor eschew the game changing economies of scale available to promoters and fighters a like.

Boxing is a tough enough business without those who clutch the sport closest to their collective bosom resisting this upward trajectory and yearning for the time their own affection for the sport distinguished them; identified them.

However, for those in search of some of those earthier times Friday night presents a treat. Whether in pursuit of the simplicity of the romanticised era before the multiple sanctioning bodies confused us all or perhaps the intervening obscurity when arenas like Sheffield’s Ponds Forge was one of boxing’s premier venues, when fighters walking to the ring in luminous safety vests were regarded as an innovative marketing ploy, boxing fans can enjoy an evening free from the company of casuals.

And in the best Yorkshire tradition, as fans face an unprecedented slew of pay per view requests, it is presented to television viewers at the ‘right price’, i.e. free.

I commend the matchmaking of Dennis Hobson and his team in the shows they’ve compiled for the FREESPORTS channel they’ve partnered with. They serve to introduce everyone to new personalities and have so far produce some of the best and most competitive evenings British boxing has served up in the past year or so.

On Friday, Sheffield’s Tommy Frank will face Adam Yahaya in bout which will determine who gets the opportunity to fight for the Commonwealth Super-Flyweight title.


Tommy Frank is within touching distance of fighting for the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title, if he can come through his next test. The Sheffield fighter faces Tanzania’s Adam Yahaya at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on October 12, live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95, Virgin 553), with the winner in line to fight for the belt.

Frank has cruised to 8-0 (1); and picked up the Central Area Title against dogged Doncaster man Craig Derbyshire in April. Although Yahaya, 18-2-1 (7), is an unknown quantity, and this will be his first contest outside his home country, he will be the first fighter with a winning record that Tommy has faced and, on paper, his toughest test to date.

“I don’t know too much about him,” said Tommy, 25. “I’ve had a little look on YouTube and from what I’ve seen he’ll be game and tough, and will give it a go. I’m not too bothered though, as long as I can be at my best on the night then I’ll beat anyone. I’ll just focus on getting the job done.

“I won’t really know until I get in the ring on the night, but he could be my toughest fight. He’s never boxed outside Africa, and I don’t what his opposition has been like, so he could be a world beater, or not up too much. But I’ve got a feeling he’s going to give it a real go. This is a big chance for him on a live televised show, and I’ve no doubt he’ll be ready for it. But so will I be.

“It’s just my ninth pro fight and I’m topping the bill in my home city, on live terrestrial TV. Not many people have done that at this stage in their career. I can’t tell you how excited I am, and I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands. Dennis [Hobson] and Glyn [Rhodes] have worked hard to get me this opportunity, and it’s my chance to show everyone what I’m about.

“We were hoping to fight for the English Title against Brad Watson, but he pulled out injured. And then we had a Commonwealth Title eliminator against Hassan Ahmed, who’s got the same record as me and is from Sheffield, but I believe he’s had a bereavement in his family – so condolences to him. But we’ve managed to get this eliminator sorted, and the Commonwealth is a great route to go down. It opens a lot of doors.”

Whoever is victorious in Sheffield on October 12, will potentially face a difficult task if they are to win the Commonwealth Title. The current champion is Australia’s Andrew Moloney, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and undefeated as a pro with 18 wins, 11 by KO. Regardless of Moloney’s reputation and pedigree though, Tommy says he would relish sharing a ring with the Aussie, and would be confident of coming out on top.

“I’d take that fight in a heartbeat. I’d absolutely love it and would go to Australia to fight him tomorrow! I don’t go around calling fighters out. I leave my opponents up to Glyn and Dennis, my job is to train hard and beat whoever is in front of me. It’s a fight I’d love to have though in the not too distant future. It would be a big fight, he’s an amateur champion but there’s no doubt in my mind that I can beat these fighters.”

Manager Dennis Hobson stated: “This is a great opportunity for Tommy because the Commonwealth Title can be a real platform to move onto the world stage. I got Stuart Hall a world title shot after getting him to fight for the Commonwealth Title, and Tommy has more potential than Hall.  

“Tommy just needs to concentrate on this African opponent though. We’ve seen these guys come over and give UK fighters some real scares, so he can’t be taken lightly. It’s going to be a great show though for the fans at the Arena, and for all the viewers on Freesports.”

Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with JJ Crump & SonLtd, present an evening of boxing at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on October 12. 

Topping the bill will be Sheffield’s Tommy Frank and Loua Nassa in Commonwealth Title eliminators. The undercard will feature Sheffield fighters Dan West; Kane Salvin; Keenan Wainwright; Sufyaan Ahmed; Mohammed Alqotaibi, and Hakeem Nassa. Also appearing will be Manchester’s Michael Gomez Jr, and Buxton’s Irvin Mango.

The show will be broadcast live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95, Virgin 553).

For ticket information, call 0114 243 4443.

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