Luke Wilton stopped by Tommy Frank in Commonwealth title fight


Luke Wilton was stopped tonight as his Commonwealth title challenge ended in crushing disappointment.

The Belfast super flyweight took on home favourite Tommy Frank in Sheffield for the rainbow belt and, after visiting the canvas four times, was stopped in the fourth round

The fight, headliner of a Dennis Hobson show and aired live on Freesports, saw youth triumph over experience, with Wilton being outgunned by a fighter that looks to be a real quality operator.

Wilton, for the first time in years, came into the fight off the back of a run of activity. Having spent a year-and-a-half out, the Eastside man returned in November and rattled off a run of three straight points wins over journeymen to sharpen up.

A late-notice offer came in last month to face Frank back when this show was scheduled for February and he would reject this – only to rue this decision when Ross Murray stepped in and the date was postponed to tonight. However, no sooner than he was in, Murray was out, and a hungry Wilton jumped on the opportunity.

Having already lost in big fights to Kevin Satchell and future World champions Lee Haskins and Charlie Edwards, 30-year-old Wilton entered the Ponds Forge Arena tonight with a ‘last chance saloon’ mentality but was unable to get served.

It was a major step up for 25-year-old Frank but one he passed in extremely impressive fashion.

‘Super Tommy’ had beaten the game Craig Derbyshire in a competitive BBBoC Central Area title fight and followed this up with a triumph over Tanzanian Adam Yahaya in a Commonwealth eliminator but Wilton was a test far beyond these.

With just one stoppage from nine, the power of Frank was a talking point in the lead-in, with he and his team suggesting that the ambitious non-journeyman approach of Wilton potentially playing into their hands – and it certainly looked that way in a dramatic opener.

After taking some bodywork from Frank, Wilton caught the home fighter with a huge overhand which inspired confidence but was sent down by a long right hand soon after. A right cross would send ‘Winky’ down again just seconds after he rose but the Eastside man would get up again and managed to scrap his way to the bell.

Wilton recovered well into the second and pressed the action but the classy and rangy Frank was scoring with nice long shots.

Getting stronger, Wilton would scythe in wide hooks in the third but it would be all over in the fourth as Frank came out aggressively and dropped the Ulsterman heavily to the body.

Wilton rose, just about, but the assault continued. Pushed to the ropes, he was sent down eventually via accumulation and, rising at ‘nine’ the bout was waved off and Frank declared the winner.

The defeat sees Wilton fall to 20(7)-6(2) while the impressive new Commonwealth champion improving to 10(2)-0.

While disappointed, ‘Winky’ would sportingly applaud his defeater but his next move looks unsure.

dpg

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]