Boxing legend Frank Bruno – one of Britain’s best loved sporting personalities – charmed his Scottish audience at Bellshill’s Hilton Strathclyde Hotel on Saturday night.
Bruno (53), who became WBC world heavyweight champion by beating Oliver McCall 20 years ago, was in fine fettle at a special Question and Answer session and three course meal for over 100 fight fans organised by EBF Scotland and Fighting Scots Gym.
Although Frank’s iconic ‘guffaw’ laugh was out in force throughout the evening, the hulking 6ft 3’ former building site worker also dealt authoratively with serious questions like being accused of doing too much weightlifting and not enough cardio work in his heyday by the evening’s first question poser.
“I think you’ve got it wrong,” replied Frank, who won 40 of his 45 professional fights before finally having to retire in 1996 after almost being blinded during a loss to Mike Tyson.
“I used to mix it up. My body looked as if I didn’t do much cardio, but I used to go for five-mile runs and sprinting. My body was always muscly from the beginning to the end.
“I was addicted to training and getting myself in condition.”
Bruno also hit back at accusations that he’d failed to capitalise on rocking Mike Tyson in the first round of their 1989 world title fight, a contest which the American star ultimately won with a fifth round stoppage.
Frank said: “I’m not that kinky that if I’d hurt Mike Tyson I would stand back.
“I did go forward and I was trying to finish off the fight. In boxing, when you hurt somebody they are more dangerous and more slippery.”
And Frank displayed great humour during a private interview with Johnston Press reporter Craig Goldthorp.
His self deprecating sense of humour came to the fore when he said that despite, in his own words “not being bright”, he’d won a celebrity boxers’ edition of TV quiz The Weakest Link in 2009.
Frank added: “God knows how I won it, but I did. Google it if you don’t believe me!
“I beat Duke McKenzie in the final.
“I’ve picked up bits and pieces of general knowledge over the years and it helped me.”
Frank – who won his first 21 professional bouts after starting at that level in 1982 – suffered his first pro defeat when knocked out by future heavyweight world champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith in 1984.
Although the British star was also knocked out by Tim Witherspoon in a WBA heavyweight title fight in 1986, Bruno was finally to become the world heavyweight champion by beating McCall in their WBC clash nine years later.