Frank Bruno

Frank Bruno


thumb|right|200px|Frank_Bruno_with_Errol Christie in the eighties
name=Frank Bruno
realname= Franklin Roy Bruno
nickname= "Frank" Bruno "True Brit"
height=6 feet 3 inches
nationality=flagicon|GBR British
birth_date=birth date and age|1961|11|16
birth_place=London, England, UK
total=45 [ [ Frank Bruno's Ring Record] ]
no contests=0|

Franklin Roy Bruno (born November 16, 1961) is an English 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, and still appears regularly in pantomime.

Boxing career

Bruno became a professional boxer in 1980, quickly racking up a streak of twenty-one consecutive wins by knockout. This streak caught the attention of many international boxing magazines, such as Ring Magazine, KO Magazine, Boxing Illustrated, The Ring En Espanol and many others. In March 1984, however, future world Heavyweight champion, American James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, then a boxing journeyman, halted that streak when he defeated Bruno by knockout in the tenth and final round of their bout, with Bruno leading on all three judges' cards. This would not be the last time Bruno went on to lose a contest he had been clearly winning and would have emerged victorious from had he survived until the final bell.

Bruno got back into title contention with wins over the likes of former WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee (by knockout in round one), and, in July 1986, he challenged Tim Witherspoon for the WBA world Heavyweight championship. 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. A comment often made was that Bruno, a fine physical specimen, had a bodybuilder's musculature rather than a boxer's, and carrying the extra weight of so much muscle sapped his energy and stamina over a long contest. The contrast between Bruno and the seemingly lard-laden Witherspoon was particularly marked, but the difference was that Witherspoon worked when he had to, and did enough over the course of the fight, whereas Bruno lacked the nous and the killer-instinct to press on when he had the initiative.

In 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the unified world Heavyweight title. After being shaken in the opening minute, Bruno finished the first round by rocking Tyson with a left hook. However, Tyson recovered and beat Bruno when the referee stopped the contest in round five with the British boxer taking heavy punishment on the ropes.

Bruno kept winning fights, helping him to retain his spot as one of the world's leading Heavyweights. 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). 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.

On 24 September 1994, Oliver McCall beat Lewis with a shock 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. McCall was an emotional mess, and cried on his way into the ring. Bruno did not last long as champion: his first defence was a rematch with Tyson. Tyson beat Bruno on a stoppage in round three [ [ Mike Tyson v Frank Bruno 2 1996] ] , in what turned out to be Bruno's last bout as a professional.

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", "IEye 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 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 [ [ Bruno to divorce BBC 8 August 2001] ] .

Bruno has remained a popular figure with the British public. His cuddly bear image was enhanced by his relationship with the avuncular 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 ago 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 10th 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 #28 in the UK charts.

In January 2001, Bruno announced that he wanted to stand as the Conservative candidate in the traditionally safe Tory seat of Brentwood and Ongar [ [ Bruno considers election fight BBC 12 January 2001] ] 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 [ [ Blow for Bruno's election plan BBC 12 January 2001] ] .

On September 22, 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 [ [ Goodwill messages for Bruno BBC 24 September 2003] ] . He had been suffering from depression for several months beforehand. He was later diagnosed as having bipolar disorder [ [,6000,1599231,00.html Did you feel suicidal before you were sectioned? "the guardian" 24 October 2005] ] . The psychologist Professor Cary Cooper expressed the opinion that the end of Bruno's boxing career, the breakdown of his marriage, and the suicide of his former trainer George Francis in 2002 all contributed to his condition. On October 9, 2005 he admitted that his cocaine use, which began in 2000, contributed to his mental health problems [ [ Ex-boxer Bruno admits cocaine use BBC 9 October 2005] ] . 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. 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 Frank Bruno offered his support to former footballer Paul Gascoigne, who on 21 February had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act [ [ Bruno offers support to Gascoigne BBC 24 February 2008] ]

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 [ [ Bruno gets £50,000 libel damages BBC 10 October 2006] ] .

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. Frank now regularly makes personal appearances [ [ Sporting Dinner with Frank Bruno MBE] ] and he also sells autographed items of memorabilia.

Frank now lives with one of his sons in the village of Little Billington, on the outskirts of the town of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire.


* He is a member of the entertainment charity the Grand Order of Water Rats.
* He starred in the video game "Frank Bruno's Boxing" [] and was also doing promotion for the compilation "Frank Bruno's Big Box" [] .
* He supports West Ham United F.C. whilst also having an affinity for Celtic F.C.
* Bruno has 38 knockout wins from 40 victories; which is a 95% knockout record and gives Bruno one of the highest knockout percentages in heavyweight boxing history.
* Frank Bruno's straight punch was 6320 newtons and the punch took only 0.1 seconds from start to finish. []
* He was cast as the bus driver for the film Spiceworld but walked out due to a dispute with the producers.
* One of his sons plays for Brentwood RFC where Frank often goes to watch him

See also

* List of heavyweight boxing champions


External links

* [ Frank Bruno in the 21st century] - Tribute on
* [ Profile: Frank Bruno] - BBC News profile 22 September 2003
* [ How Bruno's troubles began] - BBC Sport article 23 September 2003

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