Flashback: Frank Bruno beats Joe Bugner at White Hart Lane on this day in 1987

On this day in 1987, Frank Bruno took a significant step on the road towards a showdown with world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson when he beat Joe Bugner at White Hart Lane.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 6:05 am
Heavyweight boxer Frank Bruno (left) on the attack in the 8th round during his fight against Joe Bugner on 24th October 1987 at White Hart Lane, London. (Photo by Russell Cheyne/Getty Images).

Bruno, the darling of the British boxing public, had seen his dream of lifting the world title put on hold when he was knocked out by WBA champion Tim Witherspoon in the July of the previous year and needed to work his way back into contention for a shot at the fearsome Tyson.

At 37, Hungarian-born Briton Bugner had never been forgiven by his adopted country for ending Henry Cooper’s career in a controversial points victory back in 1971 as a 21-year-old.

Bruno had been due to fight Trevor Berbick in the September, but when his opponent pulled out through injury, Bugner, who had beaten top Americans James Tillis, David Bey and Greg Page in his three previous fights, stepped in for a Battle of Britain clash at White Hart Lane.

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Battle lines were drawn – the former British, European and Commonwealth champion, who had fought Muhammad Ali for the world title in June 1975, had been less than complimentary about the 25-year-old fans’ favourite in the run-up to the bout, and although he went into the ring almost two stones heavier, both the bookmakers and the crowd were firmly behind Bruno.

The younger fitter man gradually wore the durable Bugner down with his punishing jab before unleashing a barrage, and referee John Coyle called a halt at the end of the eighth round as the towel came in.

Bruno went on to lose to Tyson in February 1989 after famously rocking the undisputed world champion, but out-pointed Oliver McCall to claim the WBC crown in September 1995.

Bugner, who had initially announced his retirement in 1976, finally hung up his gloves for good in 1999 having lifted the WBF title at the age of 48.