ON September 20 hugely popular Enfield super-middleweight Frank Buglioni, 13-1 (10), begins a new chapter in his professional career under the guidance of former world champion Steve Collins and his brother Paschal following a split with long term trainer and friend Mark Tibbs.
Buglioni, 25, was handed his first professional defeat at the fists of veteran Sergey Khomitsky back in April when he was stopped on his feet in round six and despite a confidence boosting win over Sam Couzens in July the ‘Wise Guy’ told Boxing News from his training camp in Dublin that a change was needed.
“After the Sam Couzens fight I just felt as though I had become a little stale. A change of scenery is probably the best way to describe it and I have been given a new lease of life,” Buglioni explained.
“The Celtic Warriors gym is full of top fighters like Stephen Ormond, who I have been watching closely, Spike O’Sullivan and a few other talents making their way through and the sparring is top notch.
“Me and Mark (Tibbs) were very close, and we are still friends, but boxing is a business and I felt as though it was the right decision to move on, but a very tough decision to make.
“It is nice to have a new challenge from time to time and I am out here in Dublin on my own for four weeks, looking after myself and concentrating solely on boxing,” he added.
The loss to Khomitsky in April certainly came as a shock to Buglioni and those closest to him, including promoter Frank Warren. Despite some early success for the then unbeaten prospect, the Belarussian, who is as tough as the winter months in Minsk, began to land with thudding regularity until Tibbs climbed onto the ring apron and indicated to the referee that Frank had taken enough.
Had the fight come too quickly against a man who had taken world class middleweight Martin Murray the distance twice and taken part in 41 professional contests?
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Buglioni disagreed.
“I had looked great in sparring and I definitely have the ability to beat him but maybe the occasion got to me? I know it has made me a hungrier, more spiteful fighter.”
But as quickly as the praise once heaped upon him turned to inevitable criticism the fighter himself believes that he will become all the better for it, both inside and outside the ring.
“Out of that loss has come so many positives. I know the people who are loyal to me and that has shone through since my defeat,” he said.
“As long as you are tough enough and strong enough you can comeback from a loss and after spending time training with Steve Collins over in London and now Paschal here in Dublin we are working on my weaknesses but adding to my strengths and I will walk through Khomitsky next year.
“People have written me off but what many of the critics didn’t realise at the time is just how good Khomitsky is. He has since pushed Robert Stieglitz close until a controversial stoppage in round 10 and like I said I will show how much I have improved when I walk through him and any other opponents who have written me off.”
“Steve Collins’ style was very similar to mine and he saw something in me” said Buglioni, explaining his decision to hook up with the former super middleweight world champion.
“I would see Steve around and he was always warm and welcoming and once I had decided to leave Mark I had a few names in mind so I rang Steve for some advice to begin with and then things went from there.”
Buglioni confirmed to Boxing News that the Collins brothers will work as a team on fight night with both Steve and Paschal present in the corner, and he believes they will make a potent team armed with vast experience of the game.
“Paschal has been all around the world training fighters (He worked under Goody and Pat Petronelli and finished with Freddy Roach) and the subtle changes they have made suit my style.
“Steve Collins is written off by people as just a strong guy but he was a master tactician and a student of the game. He has taught me a great deal already and that is the key, being taught not just trained.”
A hard man who twice defeated both Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn during his prime, Steve Collins has harboured recent ambitions of settling a 25 year old argument with sure fire HOF entrant Roy Jones Jnr and is looking trim at the age of 50.
“I‘ve seen Steve move around in the gym and hit the heavy bag and trust me you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of his right hand!” said Buglioni.