World champion boxer Frank Bruno MBE will be revealing the intimate highs and lows of his life both in and out of the ring as his book tour visits Stoke-on-Trent.
‘Let Me Be Frank’ at the Victoria Hall will touch on some of his most memorable showdowns against the likes of Oliver McCall and Mike Tyson, as well as his diagnosis of Bipolar disorder.
His battle with the condition has been well-documented in the press, but he hasn’t let the attention trouble him. Through his charity The Frank Bruno Foundation, his book, and now this spin-off show, he’s embarked on a ruthless conquest to raise awareness.
And Frank might be a man-on-a-mission, but he’s incredibly down-to-earth when I chat to him.
The father-of-four, aged 56, said: “I’ve been in the ring, I’ve taken punches. I had moments where I almost got my head knocked off, and didn’t know if I’d come out again. But whilst I’d feel the pressure, I’d done it for a long time.
“When I stopped boxing, I could have not done anything at all, I could have been a couch potato. But that wouldn’t be me.”
Frank doesn’t try and skirt over his difficult years, but he’s also incredibly philosophical about them. Confident and calm, he seems to accept that they are an important part of who he is and what he’s become.
“You know what, people have all different stresses and problems, it’s life, things happen. You’ve got to be pragmatic, you can’t run away. Outside of the ring, I’ve realised there is no point beating yourself up,” he laughs.
“It’s nice to try something different and the show really does change night to night. It’s not as tough as being in the ring, I can’t pretend that it is, but listening to somebody get emotional is quite emotional in itself, I think that’s the simple power of the show.”
The only time I feel slightly intimidated is when I ask why he’s chosen to stop by Stoke-on-Trent specifically on what is a relatively short tour.
“Do you have a problem with me coming here?” he deadpans.
I wisely assure him I don’t – I think it’s brilliant the Potteries has lured the legend back.
He said: “I’ve lost count of the number of things I’ve done in Stoke-on-Trent from opening new facilities to visiting charities. It’s got a lot of character and there’s nice people.”
He also admires our very own Clayton colossus Eddie Hall, and it would seem two sportsmen have followed a similar pattern to success.
Frank attended a school for ‘problem’ children while Eddie struggled with academia. But both were determined to change the cards life had dealt them and through their tenacity became the ones to beat in their respective fields. Inevitably, both now have a book documenting their inspiring journeys too.
Frank said: “It’s very, very interesting that people draw that comparison. I am yet to read the book so I’m not sure. But I watched Eddie on World’s Strongest Man and he has a lot of power, a lot of concentration. I’m not surprised he’s a champion.”