Former world champion Frank Bruno has penned a letter to his fans insisting he is deteminted to beat bipolar disorder.
The British boxing legend – whose career highlight was claiming the WBC title against Oliver McCall at the old Wembley Stadium in 1995 – has moved to allay fears that he would consider returning to the ring at the age of 54.
Bruno was quoted as saying he could fight again after hearing comments from other fighters that they could beat him, but is more concerned about raising the issue of mental health with the Prime Minister David Cameron.
Bruno has been involved in training sessions with retired British welterweight Ricky Hatton.
“It seems people are a bit worried about me, so I wanted to write this letter to my fans to make one thing clear…I’m not down on the floor,” said Bruno in the Sunday Mirror.
“From a very young age I’ve had to fight. First as a kid to stay out of trouble and then to remain on the straight and narrow. Then, of course, there were the fights.
“Now I am in a whole different kind of fight – against my bipolar. But I will win, I’ve no doubt about that.”
“When I heard some of these young boxers and their promoters saying they could beat me, my pride kicked in and I felt a bit mugged off..but I know deep down the days of me fighting for world titles are gone.
“I want to reassure people I’d never, ever want to put myself in a position where I would get hurt – I would not put my family and friends through any of that.”
“I will repeat this message I sent to David Cameron on Monday: Please meet me and tell me what YOU are going to do to improve Mental Health services. I know you are busy but I hope you can find the time.
“I’d love to tell the PM how much we need to help improve the after-care people get when they leave hospital. I’d warn him how, all too often, people are given drugs and told they must stay on them for years.
“That might not be right for them.”
Bruno lost world title bouts to Tim Witherspoon in 1986, Mile Tyson in 1989 and Lennox Lewis in 1993 before finally winning a world heavyweight belt with his points wins over McCall.
His last competitive fight was losing his world title belt to Mike Tyson in 1996 in Las Vegas with a severe eye injury in that fight ending his career.
He remains in pristine condition, looking arguably as fit as when he was in his prime as a boxer. He feels that is the best way to cope with a condition that brings on severe depression.
“Often, using diet and exercise to treat their condition is far better,” said Bruno.
“Exercise and keeping fit is crucial in the way I deal with my condition.”