Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Frank Bruno MBE

 

Franklin Roy Bruno, MBE (born 16th November 1961) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1982 to 1996. He had a highly publicised and eventful career, both in and out of the ring. The pinnacle of Bruno's boxing career was winning the WBC heavyweight title from Oliver McCall at a packed Wembley Stadium in 1995, in what was his fourth world championship challenge. Bruno faced multiple top-rated heavyweights throughout his career, including two fights against Mike Tyson in 1989 and 1996, and a domestic clash against Lennox Lewis in 1993.

He was also known for his exceptional punching power, scoring 38 knockouts in 40 wins and giving him a 95% knockout-to-win ratio; his overall knockout percentage was 84.44%. Like Henry Cooper before him, Bruno has remained a popular celebrity with the British public following his retirement from boxing, including his well-documented struggles with mental health.

Bruno grew up with five siblings in Wandsworth, South West London. His mother was Jamaican and his father was Dominican. In 1990, Bruno married his wife Laura at a small church in Hornchurch, London, England. They had two daughters: Nicola and Rachel, and a son, Franklyn. However, their relationship deteriorated, and they divorced in 2001.

On 22 September 2003, Bruno was taken from his home near Brentwood in Essex by medical staff assisted by police officers, under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. He was taken to Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, London, where he underwent psychological and psychiatric tests. He had been suffering from depression for several months beforehand. He was later diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. On 9 October 2005 he admitted that his cocaine use, which began in 2000, contributed to his mental health problems. Media coverage of Bruno's problems raised controversy, the principal accusations being gross intrusion and insensitivity. Particular criticism was aimed at The Sun, whose headline in the first editions the next day read "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up". Second editions retracted the headline and attempted to portray a more sympathetic attitude towards Bruno and mental health in general. As an attempt at atonement, the paper established a charity fund for people suffering from mental illness, although some mental health charities condemned The Sun's latter action that day as being grossly cynical in the light of the former. On 24 February 2008, Bruno offered his support to former footballer Paul Gascoigne, who on 21 February had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Bruno also spoke on his own personal experiences in the mental health system at a conference run by Hari Sewell, on 22 June 2009. Bruno was sectioned again in 2012 and taken to St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton for five weeks. In December 2013, Bruno spoke to the Daily Mirror in support of their mental health campaign, stating: "Mental illness is a terrible thing to have to cope with but I’ve learnt it’s a fight you can win if you live your life the right way".

In December 2005, Bruno announced that he was to become a father for the fourth time since finding new romance with old friend Yvonne Clydesdale. The pair, who first met five years previously at a health resort, began dating months after bumping into each other at a wine bar near his home. Yvonne gave birth to baby Freya on 10 May 2006. On 10 October 2006, Bruno and Clydesdale were jointly awarded £50,000 damages for libel against The People newspaper and publishers MGN in respect of false claims made about their relationship.

In 2006, Bruno published an autobiography Frank: Fighting Back. It won the Best Autobiography category of the British Sports Book Awards.

Collectables Signed By Frank Bruno MBE