Oliver McCall vs Frank Bruno WBC heavyweight championship of the World official on-site 46 page programme SIGNED & INSCRIBED "Best Wishes" by Frank Bruno billed, "The Empire Strikes Back", 2nd September 1995, Wembley Stadium, London.
Bruno W unanimous decision over 12 rounds
The dream came true for Frank Bruno. He won the heavyweight championship of the World under the lights of Wembley Arena the man who had tried, tried and tried again rose like the phoenix and carried along with a tidal wave of emotional support achieved his lifelong ambition, the country’s most popular sportsman had become the first British Boxer to win the World heavyweight title on British soil and the whole nation celebrated Big Frank’s ultimate achievement.
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Frank Bruno Becomes World Champion
Franklin Roy Bruno (born 16 November 1961) Former WBC Heavyweight champion 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.
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). The Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno fight was the first time that two British-born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title. 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, 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, 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.
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 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 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 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 #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 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.
On 15th August 2009 he appeard on the weakest link beating Duke Mckenzie in the final for £12,800.
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. He had been suffering from depression for several months beforehand. He was later diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. 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 9 October 2005 he admitted that his cocaine use, which began in 2000, contributed to his mental health problems. 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 also spoke on his own personal experiences in the mental heath system at a conference run by Hari Sewell, on the 22nd June 2009.
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.
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.
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.
Bruno has a cameo appearance in Cass, the subject of which is a friend of Frank Bruno's who was a football hooligan. He is standing next to the pub doors in the last few minutes of the movie. His only prior movie appearance would have been as the bus driver in Spice World, but he walked out due to a dispute with the producers.