British Boxing legend Frank Bruno made an appearance on ITV’s news magazine program This Morning earlier today. Bruno, the 54-year-old sporting legend, was soon trending across the world as a result of his television appearance. Unfortunately for big Frank, it is for all the wrong reasons. Bruno has struggled with mental illness for many years, and according to the Express, viewers who saw this morning’s interview were horrified by its content. Mr. Bruno appeared unwell and used the interview to announce that he intended to return to the ring at the age of 54.
— the painter flynn (@thepainterflynn) February 1, 2016
In 1995, Bruno became the World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Oliver McCall. Frank’s tenure as world champion was to be extremely short-lived. As part of the deal signed to secure a title fight with McCall, Bruno had agreed that his first defense would be against Mike Tyson, who was at the peak of his destructive power. Tyson brutally battered a bewildered Bruno, and the fight was stopped after less than three rounds. Nine minutes in the ring proved more than sufficient for Tyson to inflict serious and permanent damage on Bruno.
As a result of the battering, Frank sustained a severe eye injury. Bruno was advised not to fight again to avoid running the risk of causing any more damage to it, which could result in permanent blindness. Bruno retired soon after the fight.
After quitting the fight, Bruno became a TV pundit but began to suffer from serious depression. Frank’s marriage broke down, and he began to use cocaine, something that worsened his mental health issues.
— This Morning (@itvthismorning) February 1, 2016
In 2003, Bruno was hospitalized as a result of his illness and was diagnosed as bipolar. In September 2015, the Telegraph reported that Bruno has been committed to hospital once again as a result of his mental illness. Frank has become a vocal critic of what he sees as a lamentable failure of the U.K. government to provide ample care for those suffering from mental health issues. Bruno is an ambassador for mental health, and that was to be the focus of today’s interview.
During the interview, Bruno once again slammed the U.K. government, describing them as “the biggest drug dealers in the world.” According to the Express, Bruno appeared manic as he criticized the use of anti-depressants in the treatment of mental health.
“The drugs made me feel suicidal. I’d be up, couldn’t sleep, I felt like Superman.
“The after care is a load of rubbish. They’re driving around in big cars, have big houses and they don’t care about the patients. The government are tricking people.”
Even more worryingly was Bruno’s statement that he intends to return to boxing. According to the Mirror, Frank told This Morning hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield that he needed to burn off energy and start boxing again.
“I’ve been in the gym all the time, that’s why I want to come back into boxing. I’m going back into boxing as well.
“I can’t sit down and let these so called promoters, say Anthony Joshua can knock me out in two rounds when I’m not even dead.”
Viewers were quick to condemn the magazine show for allowing Bruno to appear on the program when many claimed it was clear to them that Frank was unwell. One viewer summed up the feelings of many when he wrote that the interview made for “uncomfortable viewing,” as Frank is obviously unwell.
Watching Frank Bruno on This Morning. Very sad. He is obviously unwell. Uncomfortable viewing!????
— nicholas russell (@nickthegas) February 1, 2016
Others were quick to show their concern at that prospect of a 54-year-old Frank, who has been retired for over 20 years, returning to the ring.
Frank Bruno is mentally unstable & 54 years old…
ANYONE who gives him a Boxing license should be investigated.
I love Frank but FFS!
— Billy Meredith (@UrmstonLordMUFC) February 1, 2016
Many will hope that the British Board of Boxing Control will refuse to allow Bruno to fight again. The fight game is a dangerous one, and you have to wonder how badly hurt Frank Bruno could be if he were allowed to box again.
[Photo by Rob Casey/Getty Images]