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Dennis Hobson promotes carpark punch-on and encourages drive-up crowds to watch

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Promoter Dennis Hobson has come up with a novel way to draw a crowd to the British flyweight title fight between Tommy Frank 13-0 (3) and Kyle Yousaf 16-0 (7) on November 20.

The fight will take place in the carpark of the Sheffield Arena allowing fans to watch the action from the safety and comfort of their vehicles.

The global coronavirus pandemic has prevented many countries, including England, from hosting sporting events in front of live crowds.

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“I’ve been involved in boxing at all levels, and have staged shows from Rotherham to Las Vegas, but I think we could well be making history with this one,” explained Hobson.

“Obviously this pandemic has seriously affected everybody’s lives, and it’s been a very difficult time. The sports world has been massively hit, and that includes boxing, with a few shows going ahead with no audience and lots of restrictions.

“I’ve been looking at different ways to get my fighters back to work, and when the drive-in idea was suggested I thought it was workable. The fighters get back to boxing, fans can come along and watch the show live, and Eurosport will have a smashing card to broadcast.

“This fight between Tommy and Yousaf is going to be terrific. They’re all-action, both are unbeaten, it’s for the prestigious British title, and both lads are from Sheffield, so it has that extra spice. Neither of these kids are going to want to lose this one. Whoever comes out on top will obviously go onto bigger things, but the loser can definitely come again too.

“Tommy is my fighter, and he’s been unlucky. We lined up the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) world title shot for him in February, but that fell through because of the pandemic. So, this is another great opportunity. Tommy is the ultimate professional, has all the talent, and I’m confident that he’ll have a bit too much for Yousaf.  What I can guarantee though, is that it will be a fantastic fight to watch for the fans.”

The 27-year-old Frank is a former Commonwealth champion who was set to face Mexico’s Maximino Flores for the IBO flyweight title before the pandemic hit.

He knows what victory over his Sheffield rival will mean.

“All I’m visualizing is the Lord Lonsdale belt,” said Frank. “It’s something I’ve always wanted since turning pro, and I’m very thankful to Dennis [Hobson] and Steve [Crump] for the opportunity. Just to be boxing in 2020 is great, I’m a lucky man and very excited.

“This is going to be a massive night, and a very tough fight. We’re both young, unbeaten and hungry. He’s a very good fighter, and I give him massive credit, but I believe that will bring the best out of me.

“I want to fight the best out there; I only want to be in good competitive fights. I believe I’ll put in my best performance to date, and I’ll turn some heads. He’s got a fast and explosive style and that will make for a brilliant fight for the fans.

“I know that when I beat Kyle, I’ll get a lot of credit for the win.”

Yousaf, 27, sees a win over Frank springboarding him into a world title shot.

“Winning the British title has always been one of my dreams, to be the best of British would mean so much to me,” said Yousaf. “Of course, my ambition is to become world champion, but I’m not looking ahead or past this British title fight.

“I know Tommy, he’s a good fighter. I have a good opponent in front of me, I wish him all the best and there are no hard feelings. When it comes to fight night though, we’ll both be wanting the win.

“I love training with Grant Smith, everyone’s on a high in the gym, and I have two fighters – Sunny and Charlie Edwards – who I get the best sparring from.  We all push each other, and when you train with the best you only get better.

“I’m always confident, I’ll train hard, and know I’m going to win.”

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