by Frank Warren
Talking of Frank Bruno, like everyone in boxing I am saddened that he is back in hospital having treatment after apparently struggling with a severe bout of depression for several weeks.
It is such a shame that one of Britain’s best-loved sporting icons, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, should again be experiencing these mental issues.
I’ve always felt that it has not been to do with the actual boxing, but some of the things surrounding it, such as when Lennox Lewis and then Oliver McCall called him an Uncle Tom. I think that shattered him. It really affected him and maybe he has never really got over it.
Joe Frazier hated Muhammad Ali after he called him an Uncle Tom and he never forgave him.
Then when Bruno finished boxing on his own admission he started puffing that stuff and messing around with drugs.
I don’t agree with all these people who say that marijuana should be made legal, because it clearly does affect you. The strong gear is such a psychotic drug and it could well be that this has contributed to the breakdowns he has suffered as a bi-polar victim.
The recent BoxNation programme in our popular “A Fight to Remember” series which centered on Frank’s world title victory over McCall was a poignant reminder of not only his ability but the affection in which he was held-and still is.
For the third time since he quit boxing he obviously is struggling to cope, but the good thing is that he has great support around him, particularly from his family, and I am sure he will get his mind right and be back on track again soon.
After Thursday’s head-to-head press conference between Fedor Chudinov and Frank Buglioni along with boxing greats Roy Jones Jnr and Steve Collins, it was a real honour to meet with football’s living legend, Pele.
In celebration of his 75th birthday and his lifetime achievement, the Halcyon Gallery held a private opening of a unique exhibition displaying incredible paintings and sculptures from several leading contemporary artists.
It’s a fantastic exhibition and open to the public from 26 September to 18 October.
King Mitch, simply the best
Congratulations to our great prospect Mitchell Smith on being named Best Young Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers’ Club. He deserves it as one of the sport’s fastest-rising and most exciting stars.
The fight scribes rarely pick a dud ‘un in their annual poll. Indeed, 23 of their selections have gone on to become world champions, including Randolph Turpin,Terry Downes, Howard Winstone, Ken Buchanan, John Conteh, John H Stracey, Nigel Benn, Barry McGuigan, Charlie Magri, Naseem Hamed, Amir Khan, Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and latterly Kell Brook and Scott Quigg.
I have no doubt that the 22-year-old super-featherweight from Harrow who impishly calls himself ‘King Mitch’ will be joining that illustrious band in the not-too-distant future. As, I hope, will, Billy Joe Saunders, who won the award in 2013.
I am personally delighted for Mitchell as he is the 19th fighter I have promoted to have scooped this prestigious award, which will be presented to him at the Club’s annual dinner – reckoned to be the best of all sporting bashes –at London’s Savoy Hotel on Monday October 12 in the presence of sports minister Tracey Crouch.
I look forward to his acceptance speech. He is a cheeky chappy, not short of Naz-like chutzpah, unbeaten in 13 fights including seven KOs. So far far he has acquired the Southern Area, English, WBO European and WBO Intercontinental titles.
His last three fights have ended in back-to-back knockouts inside five rounds.
Big chance for The Upsetter
Good luck to Ovill McKenzie,one of boxing’s great troupers who gets a short-notice title shot against Argentina’s IBF cruiserweight champion Victor Ramirez in Buenos Aires next Friday.
McKenzie, once known as ‘opponent’ has now emerged as a worthy contender in his own right with a sequence of wins which have earned him the nickname of ‘The Upsetter.’ In his last four fights he has won three by knockouts.
He replaces Yoan Pablo Hernandez, who was the IBF champion, but was stripped of the title due to injury, with IBF Interim Champion Ramirez installed as the full champion.
It’s a dream opportunity for the 35-year-old from Jamaica, a pro for over 15 years, a former two-time Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion and the current British, Commonwealth and WBA Continental cruiserweight Champion. He’ll head to Argentina over the weekend with his team headed by his manager Martin Bowers who has been instrumental in Ovill’s recent career resurgence.
Will The Upsetter cause another fashionable shock? Box Nation viewers can find out in an exclusive telecast on the Channel of Champions which exclusively features four British boxers in world title fights during the next month, starting with Chudinov v Buglioni on Saturday, followed by Ramirez-McKenzie on Friday and new WBO World Lightweight champion Terry Flanagan’s first defence against Diego Magdaleno and Liam Smith against John Thompson for the vacant WBO super-welterweight title on the huge double-header at the Manchester Arena on Saturday 10th October.
On top of this BoxNation have also acquired the Timothy Bradley –Brandon Rios world welterweight title scrap in Las Vegas on 7th November, a potential classic.
All this plus Miguel Cotto’s upcoming superfight with Canelo Alvarez, Lucas Matthyese against Viktor Postol and the mouthwatering clash between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux.
It has been some year for BoxNation- and for fight fans.