History | Sep 03 2015

Frank Bruno vs Oliver McCall: behind the scenes

On the 20th anniversary of Frank Bruno vs Oliver McCall, Matt Christie speaks to some key figures from the fight

BEHIND the scenes, whip Ernie Draper – whose job it was to look after all the fighters on the bill – had an interesting take on McCall’s condition.
“He was standing there like he was going to a funeral, I thought ‘blimey, look at him.’ He really did look like a bag of nerves,” Draper remembers. Another memory of the night – which remains the only time during Ernie’s 40-year career where he allowed himself to get “over-excited” by the action in front of
him – was the noise that greeted Bruno.
“The roar when he came out, and I’ve been to most of the major fights [in Britain], was the biggest I have ever heard. I haven’t heard anything like it since. It was a bit like the cheers Ricky Hatton got [in Manchester] but even that did not really compare.”
That almost deafening support may have affected McCall. Adams felt that somewhere between leaving the dressing room and entering the ring, his fighter’s mind-set crumbled.
“They took him, by himself, to the top of this ramp and by the time he came down he was cold,” his then-manager Jimmy Adams explains. “Oliver was that type of fighter, he’d cry and get himself hyped up and then he’d fight from the bell. But here he got cold, he lost his momentum and he didn’t start to fight until it was too late.”

For the full six-page feature celebrating Bruno’s finest hour, download the new Boxing News magazine

Register now to keep reading

We're chuffed that you are enjoying our website. To continue reading and to help us to provide the best coverage and a great online experience please take a few moments to register. You'll be able to read more online content and get the latest news via the Daily Jabs newsletter.

For unlimited access to all our award-winning content including exclusive subscriber-only stories and a digital archive of editions back to January 2012 you will need to subscribe

Got an account? Sign in