By Terence Dooley
Former WBC heavyweight titlist Frank Bruno has handed a fledging pro a huge boost by predicting big things for him in the paid ranks.
Dan Azeez (3-0, 2 KOs) fights for the fourth time when he takes to the ring at Ipswich's Corn Exchange this weekend and the 28-year-old, who boxes out of the Essex University Boxing Club, has revealed that Bruno came up to him after being told that fans and pundits have been calling him “Mini Frank”.
“He came up to me and said 'you're the one they're calling mini Frank!’” said Azeez when speaking to the Gazette (Essex). “He knew who I was and what I'm about and it was great to hear that from a legend like him. I'm honoured to hear any compliments and I was really happy to hear that. People like Frank have inspired me and my attire is a throwback to that 80s and 90s era, with my robe and red velvet.”
The light-heavyweight is being kept busy, he is lined up for an outing at London's historic York Hall venue in July so could reach 5-0 before the traditional British summer break, which would set him up nicely for the coming season.
Bruno won the world heavyweight title by out-pointing Oliver McCall at Wembley Stadium in 1995.
The popular figure lost the belt in his first defence, a third-round rout at the hands of the comebacking Mike Tyson, and retired shortly afterwards.
There was talk of a comeback fight against Audley Harrison, but it was later revealed that Bruno had been sectioned and he has been battling mental health issues ever since.
However, the 56-year-old seems to be in good spirits of late and his backing of Azeez could help the youngster gain a wider fan following if he continues to impress.
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