By Shaun Brown
Frank Buglioni sounded like a fighter reborn when Boxing Scene caught up with the ‘Wise Guy’ recently.
The 25 year old Londoner suffered the unexpected, for many, in his last fight when he lost via a sixth round stoppage at the hands of the tried and tested Sergey Khomitsky. The Ukranian born 39 year old now faces former world super middleweight champion, Robert Stieglitz on Jul 26 in Germany.
For Buglioni, who now carries a 12-1 (9 KOs) record, his next test isn’t as daunting as someone like Stieglitz but as vitally important to his career when he fights Sam Couzens 11-12-1 (3 KOs) for the vacant Southern Area super middleweight title tonight at London’s York Hall, live on Boxnation.
The popular Mark Tibbs trained prospect, who is eager to face Khomitsky in a rematch, gave a thorough and honest assessment of his loss back in April.
“I was trying too hard to not get caught. Where I was so focused on trying to have a tight defence and not get caught, block and slip shots I neglected my strengths,” he told ‘Scene.
“My strengths are coming forward, throwing shots and when I do that I land good shots and hurtful shots and put them on the back foot but I didn’t do that. In all honesty he caught me with some nasty shots. I’ve worked on a lot of things now, you’ll see a completely different fighter.”
Buglioni recalled the end of the fifth round with ‘Scene when Tibbs asked his man if he felt okay after once again being on the receiving end of some vicious head shots from his opponent.
“I think that was his make or break round as well. He was getting tired and he come out blazing [in the sixth], caught me with a good shot and knew he hurt me and pounced on me. If I’d had the experience to tie him up, hold on like he did when he was hurt then I would have come through that and stopped him late. Our gameplan was to take him past six rounds and then go to work on him. But I left it too late for him to have some of my firepower and put him on the back foot.”
Slumped on the ropes, his corner stood up on the ring apron to wave the contest off but Buglioni, like any other fighter, gestured that he was okay before referee, Mikael Hook waved it off. And Buglioni is thankful that the bout was halted when it was.
“Mark made the right decision,” he said.
“I stick by Mark and that’s the sign of a good trainer that he protected me. The thing is, I walked out of that fight. If he’d let it go on a little bit I might not have walked out of that fight at all. I walked out of that fight and I was ready to go again a few days later, I was training and was completely back to normal. As soon as I walked back to the corner I was thinking clearly but I don’t think I was in a position to continue. I think Mark 100% made the right decision. I’m a fighter and I’ll fight on till the end. If it was a world title fight I’d say to Mark ‘Look there’s no way I’m coming out of this fight unless it’s on my back’. It wasn’t a world title fight, we had work to do and we’ll come again and we will come again.”
In his dressing-room afterwards and whilst receiving stitches to one of his eyes, Buglioni was in no mood to mope or dwell. He knew he was ready to fight on.
“If they had offered me the [Khomitsky] fight in an hour’s time [that night] I’d have took it so I knew in my mind and in my heart that it was nowhere near the end for me.”
And like many a prizefighter before him, that defeat is looked upon as a blessing in disguise and the best thing to happen to him.
“I’ve gone through the furnace and I’ve hardened up,” he said.
“It’s taken that loss to make me realise that it is a very hard, hurtful business and to be the best you’ve got to be willing to dish out the pain. The main difference in me is the mindset and the attitude towards everything. It’s made life a lot easier. My sparring partners will vouch for the difference. There’s been a few injuries for the sparring partners and I’m putting it on people now because that’s the business I’m in.”
And Buglioni, who sounded as ruthless and confident as he ever has done in my time interviewing him over the last couple of years is out to do ‘damage’ against Couzens tonight.
“Sam Couzens is tough, game and he’ll come and have a go. He’ll have seen what happened in my last fight and that will give him confidence. Wrongly so because I’ll believe he’ll walk on to shots and I don’t see it going past three rounds if I’m honest. It’s the best shape I’ve ever been in my life. I’m not underestimating anyone, I’m not overlooking anyone but as I say I’m in a very dangerous mindset and physically I couldn’t be any stronger or fitter than what I am so he’s going to be in trouble.
“I’ve had a blip and I have had to do a lot of learning and lot of hard work to come back from it. In a roundabout way as well it showed me who was close to me and it’s strengthened my team even more so. Hats off to [promoter] Frank Warren, Mark Tibbs, my Dad and my family and my friends. We found who’s going to be loyal and who’s sticking with me. In a funny way it’s given me a lot of positives and confidence moving forward and I’ve never felt in better shape mentally or physically”
Shaun Brown is the UK Editor at Boxing Scene and a contributor to Boxing Monthly. He can be contacted at [email protected] with any news, views or stories you may have.