On paper it’s his first loss but, in reality, Tommy Frank emerges from his fight with Hugo Guarneros with great credit after being pulled out by his corner after eight rounds.
In their International Boxing Federation (IBF) Inter-Continental Flyweight Title fight at Sheffield Arena on December 11, it was clear from as early as the third round that Frank had injured his left arm, rendering it useless. Despite the handicap, the 27-year-old refused to wilt and bravely battled on, trying to win the contest with just his right hand.
Although he had plenty of success with the backhand, Frank was starting to mark up and his left eye was virtually shut from the fast fists of his Mexican opponent by the end. There’s a saying in boxing that the worst thing a brave fighter needs is a brave cornerman, so it’s lucky that Tommy has Glyn Rhodes by his side. Despite his fighter’s protests, Rhodes made the sensible decision to retire his man from the fight, knowing it was both dangerous and futile to let him see out the last four rounds.
Afterwards, with Guarneros taking the belt back to Mexico, Frank refused to offer any excuses in defeat and, despite being clearly devastated, showed true sportsmanship in offering his congratulations to the South American. It’s been a tough 12 months for the ‘Steel City’ fighter, who has been out of action for over a year and seen big opportunities fall by the wayside. ‘Super’ Tommy will now need to take time out to recover from his injury, and come again in 2021.
In the chief support, local pair Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed went toe to toe over 10 rounds for the Central Area Super Featherweight belt. With both men coming into the contest at 5-0, this was badged as a genuine 50-50 fight, and so it proved. The fight was nip and tuck throughout, with both having success and neither man prepared to give ground. Virtually every minute of the contest was fought in the pocket as the pair traded and took turns to land blows. There wasn’t a clear round for either, every round was close and this fight could have gone either way or, perhaps more fairly, been scored a draw. Ultimately the decision came down to referee Darren Sarginson who saw Salvin as the victor, scoring it 97-94. This was a truly entertaining fight and it would be a shame not to see a rematch.
On the undercard, heavyweight Kash Ali called David Price out after beating Phil Williams on a third round retirement. The Rotherham man broke down his opponent from Swindon with an accurate jab and heavy body shots, and will look to step up and fight for titles in the coming year.
In a shock on the night, Northern Ireland’s only female pro fighter Cathy McAleer was outpointed by Romania’s Gabriella Mezei. This was previously unbeaten McAleer’s fifth fight compared to Mezei’s 40th, and the experience told. The Belfast fighter was badly bruised up and bloodied at the end as she regularly got tagged trying to get close to her taller opponent.
Also on the bill Sheffield’s Keanen Wainwright scored a first round KO – the second of his career – to move to 5-1 (2), against Leicester’s Joe Ducker. Former solider Perry Howe, also from Sheffield, remained unbeaten at 2-0-1 after outpointing Salford’s Ryan Hibbert. While there were also wins for Lancashire pair Zak Miller and Josh Holmes, who both stay unbeaten at 3-0 (1) and 5-0 respectively.
Photo credit: @Sporting Captures