Frank Bruno has hailed boxing promoter Frank Warren’s influence on the sport, praising his legacy in transforming the sport over the years.
Bruno, who will feature in a new BT Sport film Make It Or Die Trying: The Frank Warren Story airing at 9:30pm on Sunday 11th April, said Warren “jazzed up, sexed up” boxing from the old-school days into the modern era.
The former WBC Heavyweight Champion’s title-winning night against Oliver McCall in 1995 was spearheaded by Warren at Wembley Stadium, and the pair have known each other for decades as the sport has evolved into what it is today.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Bruno said: “Working with him, to get my chance for the fourth time at the world championship, I had to go with him and he looked after me well.
“He was a good motivator, and he was a man of his word – a proper boxing man. He doesn’t like to lose, and he was a great fighter out of the ring. He’s a fair man and I have a lot of respect and time for him.
“Frank jazzed it up a little bit. It was a like a disco, some of [the fights], the tunes they used to play and fighters had their favourite tune walking down the aisle to the boxing ring. He jazzed it up, sexed it up a lot more than old-school boxing.”
Bruno fondly remembered the lasers and light show which heralded his arrival into the ring ahead of that famous night at Wembley.
“I thought I was at a disco! I was going to show some of the moves, but I had to concentrate on what I had to do. It’s a nice feeling when he asked you what you wanted to play when you’re going into the ring, it just breaks the ice off a little bit.
“I just went to war. I had that mentality. I grew up and all the bad days came rushing through my head and I just had to let it go that night.
“One of the nicest things that could happen to a boxer is achieving his dream. At a certain age, I was 34, 35, and I achieved my dream. It’s difficult to put into words, but it will never leave my sight.
“Even when I’m dead, the kids love that their dad won the world championship. I’m part of history.”
Bruno also claimed many fighters in the modern era have “had it easier” because they’re not always fighting to put food on the table and given the level of competition around during his career.
“The fighters have got it easier than in my day. We used to have Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Ray Mercer, Lennox Lewis, Jerry Mason, it was different times, they used to do 15 rounds.
“The fighters have it so easy these days they wouldn’t even know, to do 15 rounds. There used to be some tough son of a guns out there, fighting for their supper, fighting for their mortgage, fighting to get richer.
“I think it’s changed, it makes you feel a little bit jealous or something like that. Most of the fighters today wouldn’t have lasted five minutes with the fighters I’ve just mentioned, and there’s more I could mention. Those days were very, very tough and very, very hard.”
Make It Or Die Trying: The Frank Warren Story, the next documentary in the BT Sport Films series, will premiere on BT Sport 1 on Sunday 11th April at 9:30pm