Roy "Frank" Bruno, MBE (born November 16, 1961) is a British former
professional boxer who fought at heavyweight. His career spanned fourteen
years, in which time he won the WBC and European heavyweight titles,
and faced multiple world champions including Mike Tyson and Lennox
Lewis. He won the WBC heavyweight title in 1995, defeating Oliver
McCall at a packed Wembley Stadium. Bruno was known for his excellent
punching power: he won 40 of his 45 bouts and 38 by knockout, giving
him a 95% knockout rate from the fights he won; his overall knockout
percentage is 84.44%. Like Henry Cooper before him, Bruno has remained
a popular celebrity with the British public following his retirement
Bruno became a professional boxer
in 1982, quickly achieving 21 consecutive wins by knockout. This streak
caught the attention of international boxing magazines, such as The
Ring, KO Magazine, Boxing Illustrated and Ring En Espanol. During
this period Bruno defeated former world title contender Scott LeDoux,
the dangerous fringe contender Floyd Cummings, Belgian champion Rudy
Gauwe, British Contenders Tony Moore and Eddie Nielson, and well known
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 Sweden's Anders Eklund, KO'd former European
champion and world title contender Lucien Rodriguez in one round,
was taken the distance for the first time by the useful world rated
Phil Brown, and beat fringe fighters Larry Frazier and Jeff Jordan.
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.
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 in an all British
match up. Bugner although long past his peak, was coming off impressive
wins over Greg Page, James Tillis and David Bey. Bruno won by TKO
in the 8th round, the referee stopping the bout, although it appeared
the protesting Bugner could have continued.
In 1988, 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 beg 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 coninue, ultimately rocking
Tyson (for the first time in Tyson's 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.
winning fights, helping him to retain his spot as one of the world's
leading heavyweights. He defeated contender Carl Williams, and then
journeymen such as Jose Ribalta, Pierre Coetzer, and Dutchman Jan
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 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.