Frank Bruno talks about knock-outs, hairdressing and coming to Harrogate

10 March 2014

Frank Bruno a former boxer, mental health campaigner and now hairdresser. He first came to fore in 1982 after notching 21 wins by knock-out and going on to win 40 out of 45 fights in his career.

Following a boxing career, he become a popular TV personality with the trade mark Bruno laugh.

During 2003 Bruno was diagnosed with mental health problems and criticism was made at the media over intrusion and insensitivity.

Throughout his life he has retained a place in the heart of the British public.

Frank is appearing at the Manhattan Club on Friday 14 March 2014 and spoke exclusively to Harrogate-News.

In the world championship fight against Mike Tyson, what went through your mind when Tyson went down ?

Tyson did not go down he shuddered and shook when I landed a big punch on him but he seem to come back at me even stronger. I felt if I could have got another one like that he was certainly going to wobble but it all happened so quickly and of course you have to watch the other persons movement to try and avoid their next punch its split seconds and in the time I have given you that answer Tyson would have landed 20 punches!

What made you want to train as a hairdresser ?

You know in 10 years’ time people might not want to hear me talking about fights with Mike Tyson, we have recently changed the speaking script so I have a new show but there will be new people that the public will want to see and hear speak. I love to work and want something to do every day. A friend of mine has a hairdressers and I have seen a little of behind the scenes I want to learn a new trade and I think if I do the training and learn the art of cutting and styling peoples hair that’s something that will keep my busy in my old age. Everyone needs a haircut. So I will always have something to do. Every day I will have a reason for getting up and I love talking to people so why not make them a cup of tea and give them a haircut. I am looking for ideas for a salon name.

Boxing is sometimes criticised in the press for being a violent sport, what do you say to that criticism ?

I think legalised proper controlled boxing is nowhere near as violent as some other sports. Yes its more violent than badminton but when I see my son play rugby I worry for all the players on the field. A lot of the criticism is sadly a journalists point of view for which I respect their opinion.

What are the first three things you think of when your think of Harrogate ?

Spa, tea, spa

Do you still train, when did you last get in the ring ?

I go to the gym most days but no longer box although my agent gets lots of offers

What’s your favourite part to play in Pantomime and why ?

Buttons I just enjoy the part and I can ad-lib without the audience sometimes knowing what I am doing

It suited me and I certainly would consider doing panto again if the right offer came along

How did it make you feel to be named in the sun newspaper as “Bonkers Bruno” ?

It was totally wrong but they apologised and even in the last few weeks in the Rebecca Wade trial it was said that the headline was too strong.

Editors have to sell papers and headline grabbing will sometimes make someone buy this paper and not that one but they made a mistake, admitted it and one day might give me a front page large letters headline apology.

What do you think of the British media’s reporting of public figures with mental health problems ?

It’s the appetite of the public who want to read everything a “face” does so the papers or media are always looking for a new story.

I just ask with mental Health issues that the media report facts direct from the face or their representation not something made up and if the person or family does not want to talk about it at the time of the breakdown then please leave them alone until they have had a chance to seek medical help and had some medical assistance for a couple of months.

In some cases the press intrusion can cause more stress and upset for the sufferer and their family.

If you could have stepped into the ring with any boxer from history, who would you have fought and why ?

That’s a hard one I loved watching Ali I think maybe a couple of years ago with Tyson out of the way I could have won a belt and defended it for a while but I have not really got an answer for that question sorry

What can people expect, if they come to see you in Harrogate ?

I hope they will be interested in what I say I hope I will entertain them, I understand there is a meet and greet and the chance to have photos with some of the people so please come and say hello.

What do your see your future going from here ?

I want to continue campaigning for the suffers of Mental Health, it’s sad but a fact if you are seen as a “face “the decision makers will at least listen to what you say. If I can be the voice of the silent sufferers and their families and actually get some changes for the good that will benefit mental Health patients then I will be glad I can be their voice. I am enjoying life at the moment I love the gym I enjoy cooking and best of all this week going to Harrogate!

Frank is appearing at the Manhattan Club on Friday 14 March 2014.

Tickets available 01423 871 267

See Frank’s website or follow on twitter @frankbrunoboxer

Main photograph copyright Martin Usbourne

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