Boxer Eli Frankham returns with a promise: ‘I will be British Champion in five years’

BOXER Eli Frankham announced plans to turn professional with a promise this week: “I will be British Champion in five years”.

The 19-year-old, from Walpole St Andrew, won national and European titles as a schoolboy at Wisbech Amateur Boxing Club.

He gave up boxing in 2010 but now he is back - and he has more ambition than ever.

“I will be British Champion in four or five years,” he said. “That’s a promise. This is not me being cocky. I’m 100 per cent sure I can do it.”

Frankham is hoping to make his paid debut as a cruiserweight later this year after winning 27 of his 32 amateur bouts.

He is being trained by John Sutton at South Holland Boxing Academy, in Holbeach, and managed by Tanya Follett - Britain’s first female boxing manager.

Follett has set up sparring with champions and contenders including Matt Skelton, Sam Sexton and Dillian White.

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Frankham, who recorded a points victory over Halliwell’s Pavelos Nevedomskis in March, said: “I wanted to get back boxing and I must have been to every gym in Cambridgeshire but then I went to South Holland and it felt like home.

“John has changed my boxing completely. I was always a good technical boxer but now I’m comfortable getting in the ring and having a war. I know I can stand toe to toe with anyone.

“It’s the best thing in the world to be boxing again. It’s in my blood. A whole new chapter in my life is about to start.”

Frankham, who had trials as a goalkeeper for Peterborough United, Norwich United and Chelsea as a teenager, has been boxing since he was 11.

His cousin, ‘Gypsy’ Johnny Frankham, was a British light-heavyweight champion in the 1970s and his father, Eli snr, was a top bare-knuckle fighter crowned ‘King of the Gypsies’.

Eli snr died in September 2007, days before his son was crowned European Schoolboy Champion in Portsmouth.

Five years later and Frankham’s father is still inspiring him.

“My dad always said he wanted me to do better than he did,” he said. “He wanted me to have a pro fight. I know he would be so proud.”