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Frank Bruno finally makes peace with Mike Tyson rivalry during emotional reunion

Frank Bruno can laugh about it now.

Sitting a few feet away from his nemesis in his lavish Miami mansion, our national treasure is in the mood for reminiscing.

Bruno is remembering his first encounter with his boogie man – then a teenager – in the Catskill Mountains.

“We sparred together and I watched you grow up,” he tells Mike Tyson, who adds: “You were the European champion and they had high hopes for you.”

Bruno, as sharp as a tack, quips: “And you were the puncher who was going to stop my high hopes – and you did.” Cue that booming laugh.

It is difficult to separate Bruno’s story from Tyson’s own saga and their intertwined tale is now being told in a feature-length documentary.

Without Tyson, Bruno may have become a world champion much sooner than his fourth world title fight.

Frank Bruno meets Mike Tyson in his Miami mansion

But without his determined showing in Las Vegas, he might not have returned a hero and become this country’s most-loved sportsman.

But without Tyson his career might not have ended the way it did; six months after reaching the summit and left with a detached retina and broken dreams.

“It’s a bit rocky here and there but I’m on the right path,” Bruno tells Tyson who has stumbled himself more than once.

“Life has been a learning lesson, life has been reeducating myself,” muses the icon formerly known as the baddest man on the planet.

Bruno was due to fight Tyson at Wembley in the summer of 1988 but the world champion’s chaotic personal life saw the bout postponed five times.

And Bruno, now 59, still harbours regret that he was made to wait, making a point of reminding the man who messed him around.

Of their second meeting in 1996, he admits, “I shouldn’t have been there but I had a family to provide for.”

Tyson reveals the contract for the sequel was signed while he was serving a six-year prison term for rape.

“He had more fire and more vigour in the first fight than he had in the second fight,” he adds.

“Being champion again was the only thing on my mind, I wanted to know I could do it again after being locked up.”

The ageing heavyweights find common ground around their battles with mental health, even if Tyson turns even that into a competition.

“Frank Bruno has been in one mental health facility,” he says. “I’ve been in 10 of them.”

They joke about a third fight (please, no) before a handshake and a hug brings to an end their first meeting for 24 years.

“You wouldn’t know what it was like meeting the real Mike Tyson, away from all his entourage just sitting there chilling,” Bruno reflects.

“I’m glad I met him today, it took a lot of pressure off me mentally. I’m going back to England a trillion times happier.”

*Bruno v Tyson is available on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV




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