Frank Bruno OBE

Frank Bruno OBE

During his amateur boxing career Frank amassed a 20-1 career at the Philip Game Amateur Boxing Club.

His amateur career culminated with Frank boxing for Young England and becoming the youngest ever Amateur British Champion at 18.

Frank became a professional boxer in 1980 after twenty-one consecutive wins by knockout.

As Great Britain had been starved of World champions in the Heavy weight division for the 20th century there became whispers of suggestions of this big lad from South London getting to the heights of a World championship.

But there was to be a wait for a few years! In March 1984 at Wembley future world Heavyweight champion American James Bonecrusher Smith then a boxing journeyman stopped Franks Promised Land in its tracks when he defeated Frank by knockout in the tenth and final round of their bout with Frank leading on all three judges cards.

This would not be the last time Frank went on to lose a contest he had been clearly winning and would have emerged victorious had he survived until the final bell.

Frank got back into title contention with wins over the likes of former WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee at Wembley 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 was defeated by knockout in round eleven.

The contrast between Frank and Witherspoon who appeared to be carrying a few too many pounds was all to clear to see even for a non boxing fan but the media commented the difference was that Witherspoon worked when he had to and did enough over the course of the fight.

Whereas Frank maybe appeared to be laid back when he could and maybe should have had the opportunity to go for the knockout. Frank says on the night Witherspoon was a better boxer and Franks head got in the way of Witherspoons fists!

In 1989 Frank challenged Mike Tyson for the unified world Heavyweight title. After being shaken in the opening seconds Frank finished the first round by rocking Tyson with a left hook.

However Tyson recovered the referee stopped the contest in round five with the British boxer taking heavy punishment on the ropes. It would be fair to say the whole of the UK was willing Frank on something Frank acknowledged after the fight.

Frank kept winning fights helping him to retain his spot as one of the worlds leading Heavyweights. In 1993 he had a third world title chance against a young Lennox Lewis who was making the second defense of the belt. Lewis beat Bruno on a stoppage in round seven the media felt Frank needed that little extra failing to take his title chance after leading the contest on points up until what proved the final round.

On 2 September 1995 Frank Bruno finally became World champion by outpointing McCall over twelve rounds. The whole of the UK hailed Frank as King Brooooono. A tour through London with the winning Belt on an Open top bus brought out hundreds of thousands to cheer and wave at Frank.