It has almost been twenty three years since the deeply loved and respected Frank Bruno retired from boxing. His final time fighting professionally between the ropes was against Mike Tyson in Las Vegas defending the WBC heavyweight belt that he won from Oliver McCall in September in London that previous year. It was a rapid ending, and the then pensive champion was crushed in three rounds. Seeing little point in continuing after having achieved what he set out to get the moment he got his first taste of fighting, Bruno hung up the gloves. Threat to his eye-sight also helped convince him after discovering that he was in danger of going blind if he had continued fighting.
But while opinions have aired from the public and specifically among fight fans that he was a boxer who was little more than a stiff lump who couldn’t take a serious punch it is easy to forget the era in which he fought, especially during the 1990s. Guys like Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, Andrew Golota and an older but more experienced George Foreman all made for an intoxicating heavyweight batch.
While today’s current crop of big men continue to excite people around the world, it is fair to say that they somewhat lack the glamour and vibrant spirit that was once existent over twenty years ago.
So, it’s fun to ask. How well would Frank Bruno have competed against today’s champions?
Well, with Tyson Fury putting up such a good showing against Deontay Wilder last year he is probably widely now thought of as part of a small group of three of the best in the division. That would be Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and the “Gypsy King.” Although Fury is not the holder of any major world title, he is still considered to be the “Lineal” champion, so he is worthy of being thrown in here.
One of Bruno’s strengths was that he had a great jab that he worked vigorously behind. He has 38 KO’s to his credit in 40 wins, so he was a huge puncher. The Brit gave legends such as Mike Tyson brief trouble when he famously connected with a left hand in the first round of their 1989 encounter. Fighters like the reasonably durable Jesse Ferguson were dealt with in the 1st round and he became only the third man to stop Joe Bugner. Bruno also rocked Lennox Lewis and a number of other good quality combatants.
Clearly, his power was something that every man had to be wary of!
Current WBC champion, Deontay Wilder has been put on the floor as an amateur and has been heavily shaken up in the professional game while holding the aforementioned crown. Only his incredible punching power has gotten him out of trouble! The Alabama born boxer also fights in a rather immature fashion, always pressing for the knockout and sometimes looks clumsy in doing so. Bruno was the more technically sound, and providing that one of Wilder’s bombs do not land on him then it’s feasible to imagine that Bruno would come through with a win. Even an early one!
A bout with Anthony Joshua would be more evenly matched. Joshua is a little rigid, upright and has a good jab that he likes to use. Both Bruno and Joshua never, and do not have great footwork. The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO owner does possess a good uppercut when he has to fight on the inside, and his stamina is also a little better than Bruno’s despite both gent’s having a huge body frame. They have the same length of reach but Joshua has a 3-inch advantage in height over Bruno, who is 6ft 3 inches.
I see it as a much harder fight to predict, but my money would probably have to go on Anthony.
Tyson Fury has a sizeable repertoire of different things in his arsenal. His jab isn’t the best. He could do with using it with more authority, but it has done the trick so far. Fury is very fluid, mobile wise, and has underrated upper body defensive moves. The charismatic former undisputed champion also seems to understand the technicalities of boxing inside and out. He always formulates effective game plans to upset his opponents. Bruno would fall massively short in physicality. Fury is 6 ft 9 inches and a reach of 85 inches.
Tyson, on his day, would probably find it rather easy to control Frank and perhaps stop him late or win a wide points decision. I could not see it even being anywhere near close.
As for the rest of today’s top ten ranked contenders, I can see the likes of Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, the often passive Luis Ortiz and the untested Jarrell Miller trying and failing against the Hammersmith born English ring Great.
What do you figure?