Frank Bruno: Eddie Hearn says ring return would be travesty

By Nate WilliamsBBC Sport
Bruno last fought professionally in 1996
Frank Bruno last fought professionally in 1996

Frank Bruno returning to boxing at the age of 54 would be a "travesty", says promoter Eddie Hearn.

Former world heavyweight champion Bruno says he would like to box again, but has battled with bipolar disorder since he was diagnosed in 2003.

David Haye, who is also a former heavyweight champion, says Bruno would need to face boxers of a similar age.

But Hearn said: "Frank is a national institution. He needs help and support, but not through returning to boxing."

Bruno, who has not fought since losing the WBC belt to Mike Tyson in 1996, said on Monday he wanted to return to the ring, but had been denied a licence by British boxing officials.

"He won the heavyweight world title. It would be a travesty to see him back in the ring," said Hearn.

"It's not the answer but I fully understand all the things that boxing can give him, and I hope he can find that through being involved in the sport, whether it's coaching, whether it's being an ambassador because he trains all the time and that's because he feels he needs to."

A look back at Bruno's career
17th March 1982Wins his first professional fight against Lupe Guerra
13th May 1984After 21 consecutive wins, Bruno loses his first match to James Smith
1st October 1985Knockout victory over Anders Eklund gives Bruno the EBU heavyweight title
19th July 1986Loses to Tim Witherspoon and misses out on the WBA World heavyweight title
25th February 1989Loses to Mike Tyson by a fifth-round knockout to miss out on WBC, WBA, IBF World heavyweight title
1st October 1993Loses to Lennox Lewis in a fight for the WBC World heavyweight title
2nd September 1995Wins the WBC World heavyweight title, beating Oliver McCall
16th March 1996Loses the WBC World heavyweight title to Mike Tyson
Total Record: Won: 45 Lost: 5 Drawn: 0 Rounds: 170 Knockouts: 84%

Fellow Briton Haye does not feel Bruno should meet boxers in their 20s or 30s.

"As long as he fights somebody his own age, I've got no problem with that," Haye, 35, told Radio 4's Today programme.

Haye made a comeback of his own in January, taking 131 seconds to win his first fight in three-and-a-half years.

He added that Bruno was in "fantastic shape" but added there should be a seniors division in boxing, as there is in tennis.

Promoter Kellie Maloney said Bruno should not risk his health and instead channel his energy into other things, like training up-and-coming boxers.

"He's got a lot of knowledge and he could pass that on to the young fighters," said Maloney. "There's so much more out there for him."