Frank Bruno, the former heavyweight boxer who has fought a very public battle with mental illness, has announced he wants to return to the ring as a way of avoiding psychiatric hospital.
Bruno, who won the WBC heavyweight belt in 1996 and is now 54, said he had been training daily and felt compelled to come out of retirement to fight again.
Interviewed on ITV’s This Morning programme, he spoke openly about his bipolar disorder that had led to him being sectioned three times since it was diagnosed in 2003. He admitted himself to hospital in September last year after suffering a bout of severe depression.
“I’ve got to get back into boxing, to get this out of my system, because I don’t want to end up in Broadmoor hospital,” Bruno said. “I’ve been in the gym all the time, that’s why I want to come back into boxing.”
The presenter Phillip Schofield questioned whether it was sensible to return to the sport. Bruno responded: “Is that a good idea? I haven’t got no choice. I train every day.”
Bruno said he objected to being challenged by younger boxers, saying he did not want to be “mugged off” when he was still fit and well.
“I can’t sit down and let these so-called promoters say [current British heavyweight champion] Anthony Joshua can knock me out in two rounds when I’m not even dead.”
Bruno also revealed that some of the drugs prescribed for his condition had made him feel worse. “They made me suicidal. They mess up my head. I can’t sleep. I have so much energy,” he said.
In order to fight again professionally, Bruno would need to be granted a licence by the British Boxing Board of Control, which has yet to respond to his comments.
This article was written by Matthew Weaver, for theguardian.com on Monday 1st February 2016 14.22 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010