Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boredom Will Be Lennox's Next Fight - Bruno

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boredom Will Be Lennox's Next Fight - Bruno

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

FRANK BRUNO had been on good form, liberally sprinkling the conversation with that basso-profundo "heehee-hee" and ending every third sentence with his rhetorical "know what I mean?"

But then talk turned to the retirement of Lennox Lewis and the challenges that Bruno's former heavyweight conqueror will face while seeking to make a life for himself away from the ring.

The mood in the room darkened as the former world champion leaned forward and revealed a prophecy once offered by his trainer, George Francis.

"At the time I didn't know quite what he meant, but George told me my greatest fight was going to be in retirement.

"Now I understand. When your life has been boxing - the discipline, the training, the preparation for fights - giving it all up is a very hard thing to do.

"Boredom. That's the main thing you face, and it's what you've got to get out of your head. Boredom.

"I can't put my feet in Lennox Lewis's shoes. Maybe he'll find something to occupy himself.

They've been saying he may be getting married and trying to have kids.

That might occupy him. But that was my greatest fear when I retired - boredom."

It was a fear that was to haunt Bruno from August 1996, when a serious eye injury forced him to quit the sport, until last September when he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Not every passing moment had been spent watching the clock.

Bruno enjoyed his annual starring role in pantomime and there were celebrity appearances in public or in commerc i a l s o n television.

But away from the spotlight Bruno found time on his hands, particularly following a difficult divorce from Laura, the mother of his three children.

With nothing else to do he would train obsessively in the ring erected in the garden of his Essex mansion, then he would dwell on increasingly negative thoughts.

Following his release from hospital Bruno would recall those troubled hours alone in a big, empty house.

"Suddenly I didn't know who I was any more. I'd been Frank Bruno, boxer. Now I was Frank Bruno - what? I no longer had my boxing or my family. …

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