Frank Bruno

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Frank Bruno

Frank Bruno (left) with Errol Christie
Statistics
Real nameFranklin Roy Bruno
Nickname(s)"Frank" Bruno
Rated atHeavyweight
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
NationalityBritish
Born(1961-11-16) 16 November 1961 (age 50)
Hammersmith, England
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights45[1]
Wins40
Wins by KO38
Losses5
Draws0
No contests0
 
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Frank Bruno

Frank Bruno (left) with Errol Christie
Statistics
Real nameFranklin Roy Bruno
Nickname(s)"Frank" Bruno
Rated atHeavyweight
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
NationalityBritish
Born(1961-11-16) 16 November 1961 (age 50)
Hammersmith, England
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights45[1]
Wins40
Wins by KO38
Losses5
Draws0
No contests0

Franklin Roy "Frank" Bruno MBE (born 16 November 1961) is a British former boxer whose career highlight was winning the WBC heavyweight championship in 1995. Altogether, he won 40 of his 45 contests. Like Henry Cooper before him, Bruno has remained a popular celebrity with the British public since his ring career ended.

Contents

Boxing career

Bruno became a professional boxer in 1982, quickly racking up a streak of twenty-one consecutive wins by knockout. This streak caught the attention of international boxing magazines, such as The Ring, KO Magazine, Boxing Illustrated, Ring En Español. During this period Bruno defeated former world title contender Scott LeDoux, the dangerous fringe contender Floyd Cummings, former European Champion Rudy Gauwe, British contender Eddie Nielson and trial horses such as Bill Sharkey, Walter Santemore and Ken Lakusta. However, in May 1984 the up and coming future world heavyweight Champion, American James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, halted that streak when he defeated Bruno by knockout in the tenth and final round of their bout, with Bruno leading clearly on all three judges' cards. As a general view, Bruno was carefully managed, whereby he developed well to later give a strong account of himself in the big matches.

Bruno won his next six bouts against respected opposition. He won the European heavyweight title with a KO over Swedens Anders Eklund, KO'd former European champion and world title contender Lucien Rodriguez, was taken the distance for the first time by the useful world rated Philipp Brown, and beat fringe fighters Larry Frazier and Jeff Jordan.

Bruno got back into title contention with an impressive one round KO win over former WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee of South Africa, and, in July 1986, he challenged Tim Witherspoon for the WBA heavyweight title. After once again leading on the cards for most of the fight, he ran out of steam and was defeated by knockout, in round eleven.

Bruno once again got himself back into title contention with wins over former contender James Tillis and journeymen Reggie Gross and Chuck Gardner. In October 1987 Bruno faced the veteran Joe Bugner, who although long past his peak was coming off impressive wins over Greg Page and David Bey. Bruno won by TKO in the 8th round, the referee stopping the bout, although it appeared Bugner could have continued.

In 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title. In the opening moments, the fighters came together with huge punches. Bruno's legs buckled, and he took a big step back, inadvertently stepping off the ring apron. Most agree that he would have gone down, at least to a knee in any event, and this was called a knockdown. Bruno did not complain, and instead gathered himself to continue, ultimately rocking Tyson (for the first time in his career) with a left hook toward the end of the round. However, Tyson recovered and eventually beat Bruno when the referee stopped the contest in round five with Bruno taking heavy punishment, lying helpless on the ropes.

Bruno kept winning fights, helping him to retain his spot as one of the world's leading heavyweights. He defeated good contenders such as Jose Ribalta, Carl Williams, and Pierre Coetzer, as well as the Dutchman Jan Emmen.

In 1993 he had a third world title chance against young Lennox Lewis, who was making the second defence of the belt (his first of three championship reigns). The Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno fight was the first time that two British-born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title.[2] Lewis beat Bruno on a stoppage in round seven, Bruno again failing to take his title chance after leading the contest on points up until what proved the final round.

Bruno again regrouped, dispatching the respected Jesse Ferguson in one round, and the fringe contenders Rodolfo Marin and Mike Evans equally easily.

On 24 September 1994, Oliver McCall beat Lewis with a surprising and somewhat controversial second round knockout victory at Wembley Arena, and, after outpointing Larry Holmes, he came to England to defend the WBC title against Bruno. On 2 September 1995, Bruno finally became world champion by outpointing McCall over twelve rounds. Bruno did not last long as champion - the contract he signed in order to get McCall meant he had to face Mike Tyson in his first defence. Tyson beat Bruno on a stoppage in round three,[3] Bruno performing unusually poorly in what turned out to be his last bout as a professional, despite having commented prior to the fight "I ain't freezing, son".

Bruno's publicist throughout most of his career was sports historian Norman Giller, who wrote three books in harness with Frank: Know What I mean, Eye of the Tiger and From Zero to Hero. His manager for all but his last five fights was Terry Lawless, who signed him as a professional shortly after he had become ABA heavyweight champion at the age of eighteen.

Outside boxing

Bruno grew up with five siblings in a terraced house in Wandsworth, South London, where his parents had settled after moving to England from the Caribbean. In 1990, he married his partner Laura at a small church in Hornchurch, an area of Greater London near the border with Essex. They had three children. However, their relationship deteriorated, and they divorced in 2001.[4]

Bruno has remained a popular figure with the British public. His image was enhanced by his relationship with the BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter, his appearances on the early Comic Relief programmes in the 1980s and his frequent appearances thereafter on television and on stage (in pantomime).

In December 2005, Bruno announced that he was to become a father for the fourth time since finding new romance with old friend Yvonne Clydesdale. The pair, who first met five years previously at a health resort, began dating months after bumping into each other at a wine bar near his home. Yvonne gave birth to baby Freya on 10 May 2006.

In 1995, the year of his world championship, he released a cover version of "Eye of the Tiger", the theme song of the movie Rocky III. It reached No 28 in the UK charts. In 1999, he featured on the celebrity special in the second season of Fort Boyard.

In January 2001, Bruno announced that he wanted to stand as the Conservative candidate in the traditionally safe Tory seat of Brentwood and Ongar[5] against the independent Member of Parliament, Martin Bell. His proposed slogan was "Don't be a plank, vote for Frank!" However, this idea was quickly dismissed by Conservative Central Office.[6] But in an interview with BBC Sport at the time Bruno laughed at the story and denied he had any intention of standing.[citation needed]

On 22 September 2003, Bruno was taken from his home near Brentwood in Essex by medical staff assisted by police officers, under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. He was taken to Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, where he underwent psychological and psychiatric tests.[7] He had been suffering from depression for several months beforehand. He was later diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.[8] On 9 October 2005 he admitted that his cocaine use, which began in 2000, contributed to his mental health problems.[9] Media coverage of Bruno's problems raised controversy, the principal accusations were gross intrusion and insensitivity. Particular criticism was aimed at The Sun, whose headline in the first editions the next day read "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up". Second editions retracted the headline and attempted to portray a more sympathetic attitude towards Bruno and mental health in general.[10] As an attempt at atonement, the paper established a charity fund for the victims of mental illness, although some mental health charities condemned The Sun's latter action that day as being grossly cynical in the light of the former. On 24 February 2008, Bruno offered his support to former footballer Paul Gascoigne, who on 21 February had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act[11] Bruno also spoke on his own personal experiences in the mental heath system at a conference run by Hari Sewell, on 22 June 2009.[12]

On 10 October 2006, Bruno and his partner Yvonne Clydesdale were jointly awarded £50,000 damages for libel against The People newspaper and publishers MGN in respect of false claims made about the pair's relationship.[13]

By 2005 Bruno was able to appear on BBC Radio as a guest expert at a boxing match, as well as appearing on television again. Bruno now regularly makes personal appearances and he also sells autographed items of memorabilia.[14]

He supports West Ham United whilst also having an affinity for Aberdeen.

On 15 August 2009 he appeared on The Weakest Link beating Duke McKenzie in the final for £12,800. He had a small role in the 2008 British crime drama Cass.

Bruno made a brief guest appearances in episodes of the ITV comedy show, Harry Hill's TV Burp in February and October 2011.

He is also a patron for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, A Children's Charity.

On 3 March 2011, Bruno appeared as a guest at The Sirloin pub in Chingford, East London for a questions and answers session. On 21 April 2011, Bruno appeared on the ITV1 chatshow The Alan Titchmarsh Show, where he was candid about his previous health issues.

Bruno completed the 2011 London Marathon which is the third marathon he has run successfully. He has also run numerous half marathons.

In 2011, he appeared in the remake of the TV children's show Sooty alongside Richard Cadell.

On 20 April 2012, Bruno was featured in the ITV series Piers Morgan's Life Stories.

Professional boxing record

40 Wins (38 knockouts, 2 decisions), 5 Losses (5 knockouts, 0 decisions), 0 Draws [15]
ResultRecordOpponentTypeRoundDateLocationNotes
Loss40–5United States Mike TysonTKO3 (12)16/03/1996United States MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesLost WBC Heavyweight title. Bruno was cut over his left eye in the first round.
Win40–4United States Oliver McCallUD1202/09/1995England Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, England, United KingdomWon WBC Heavyweight title.
Win39–4United States Lee WalshKO2 (10)13/05/1995Scotland Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Win38–4Puerto Rico Rodolfo MarinKO1 (10)18/02/1995England Bath & West Country Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Win37–4United States Jesse FergusonTKO1 (10)16/03/1994England National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Loss36–4United Kingdom Lennox LewisTKO7 (12)01/10/1993Wales Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales, United KingdomFor WBC Heavyweight title.
Win36–3United States Carl WilliamsTKO10 (10)24/04/1993England National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Win35–3South Africa Pierre CoetzerTKO8 (10)17/10/1992England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win34–3Cuba Jose RibaltaKO2 (10)22/04/1992England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win33–3Netherlands John EmmenTKO1 (10)20/11/1991England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Loss32–3United States Mike TysonTKO5 (12)25/02/1989United States Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesFor WBC, WBA & IBF Heavyweight titles. Bruno down in round 1 & penalized a point for holding. Bruno wobbled Tyson in the 1st round with a left hook.
Win32–2Australia Joe BugnerTKO8 (10)24/10/1987England White Hart Lane (Tottenham FC), Tottenham, London, England, United Kingdom
Win31–2United States Reggie GrossTKO8 (10)30/08/1987Spain Nueva Andalucia Bullring, Marbella, Andalucía, Spain
Win30–2United States Chuck GardnerTKO1 (10)27/06/1987France Palais des Festivals, Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Win29–2United States James TillisTKO5 (10)24/03/1987England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Loss28–2United States Tim WitherspoonTKO11 (12)19/07/1986England Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, England, United KingdomFor WBA Heavyweight title.
Win28–1South Africa Gerrie CoetzeeKO1 (10)04/03/1986England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win27–1United States Larry FrazierKO2 (10)04/12/1985England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win26–1Sweden Anders EklundKO4 (12)01/10/1985England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United KingdomWon EBU Heavyweight title.
Win25–1France Lucien RodriguezTKO1 (10)26/03/1985England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win24–1United States Phillip BrownUD1027/11/1984England The Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win23–1United States Jeff JordanTKO3 (10)06/11/1984England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win22–1Canada Ken LakustaKO2 (?)25/09/1984England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Loss21–1United States James SmithKO10 (10)13/05/1984England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win21–0Argentina Juan Antonio FigueroaTKO1 (10)13/03/1984England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win20–0United States Walter SantemoreKO4 (10)06/12/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win19–0United States Floyd CummingsTKO7 (10)11/10/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win18–0United States Bill SharkeyKO1 (10)27/09/1983England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win17–0United States Mike JamesonKO1 (10)09/07/1983United States DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win16–0United States Barry FunchesTKO5 (10)31/05/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win15–0United States Scott LeDouxTKO3 (10)03/05/1983England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win14–0United Kingdom Eddie NeilsonTKO3 (10)05/04/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win13–0United Kingdom Winston AllenTKO2 (10)01/03/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win12–0Uganda Peter Mulindwa KozzaKO3 (10)08/02/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United KingdomMulindwa replaced the injured Alfredo Evangelista on 3 days notice.
Win11–0United Kingdom Stewart LithgoRTD4 (8)18/01/1983England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United KingdomLithgo's corner retired after the 4th due to severe cuts around his eyes.
Win10–0Costa Rica Gilberto AcunaTKO1 (10)07/12/1982England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win9–0Germany George ButzbachTKO1 (8)23/11/1982England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win8–0Belgium Rudy GauweKO2 (8)09/11/1982England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win7–0Democratic Republic of the Congo Ali LukasaTKO2 (8)23/10/1982Germany Berlin, Germany
Win6–0United Kingdom George ScottTKO1 (8)14/09/1982England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win5–0United Kingdom Tony MooreTKO2 (8)01/06/1982England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win4–0United States Ronald GibbsTKO4 (8)04/05/1982England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win3–0United States Abdul MuhayminKO1 (8)20/04/1982England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Win2–0United States Harvey SteichenTKO2 (8)30/03/1982England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom
Win1–0Mexico Lupe GuerraKO1 (8)17/03/1982England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England, United KingdomBruno's debut.

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Oliver McCall
WBC Heavyweight Championship

19th Champion
2 September 1995 – 16 March 1996

Succeeded by
Mike Tyson