Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Behind You, Frank

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Behind You, Frank

Article excerpt


Frank Bruno is eyeing up a comeback against Audley Harrison, a bout he believes could earn each boxer pound sterling5 million.

But given his medical history it could cost Bruno his sight, warns David Smith

JUST when you thought the curtain had come down on the pantomime season, along comes Frank Bruno, self-cast as the principal boy who wants to start flinging punch pies.

His intended target is Audley Harrison, the villain of British boxing if the Olympic gold medallist's many front-row critics are to be believed.

According to Bruno, he and Harrison will tread the boards at Upton Park, that theatre of so many football farces over the past few months.

"I could beat him inside three rounds if you want to know the truth," Bruno told Five Live.

"I've studied him and he's in the right sort of market to be picked like a fresh orange."

And he is adamant that enough punters will want to cheer and jeer that the two heavyweights will be able to exit stage right richer by pound sterling5 million apiece.

Laugh? I nearly cried. Not because it's funny, but because the enterprise entertains every prospect of ending in a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions.

Is Frank about to become a Falstaff because he needs the money? Sunday's tabloid exclusive announcing the comeback must have paid well, but not well enough to finance the multimillion pound bill that is said to have slipped through Bruno's letterbox following his divorce from wife Laura.

Still, a pound sterling10m take from the fight with Harrison should lighten the financial load. Or will it?

Bruno's estimation of the value of a showdown between a 31-year-old "wannabe" champion and 41-year-old "has-been" champion equates to the giant's hoard in Jack and the Beanstalk.

But that's a panto, Frank. It's not real life.

What are very real are the concerns of those whose office it is to govern professional boxing in Great Britain.

Publicly, the British Boxing Board of Control have stated they will reserve judgement until the licence application is received.

Privately, Board officials have very real medical concerns and point to Bruno's age, his sevenyear absence from competition, and especially to his treatment for serious eye conditions.

So are they likely to licence him? Oh no, they're not!

For an explanation, let's examine some of Bruno's past performances.

There was his winter of discontent in 1981 when, as an 18-year-old seeking a professional licence after becoming the youngest ABA heavyweight champion, Bruno was found to be suffering from myopia. It was a form of shortsightedness so severe that he had no chance of passing the Board's medical.

That is until Bruno's visionary manager, Terry Lawless, invested several thousand pounds in flying his young prospect to Colombia, where experimental surgery performed by eminent eye doctor Jose Ignacio Barraquer had produced promising results. …

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