1. EIGHT years before Frank Bruno challenged Oliver McCall for the WBC heavyweight title on September 2 1995, the pair sparred at the Royal Oak Gym in Canning Town. Bruno was rebuilding following a 1986 loss to Tim Witherspoon while the American was largely unknown. “We sparred for about 12 rounds,” Bruno remembered. “He caught me in the eye with his thumb. It was competitive, nice, but I don’t think he liked belly shots. I know he doesn’t, but he’s got a good jab and a lot of people underestimate that. No one got the better of it, but he was complaining when I hit him to the body, or on the border, and he kept saying ‘keep them up’.”
2. AS well as the defeat to Witherspoon, Bruno had also failed in world title bids against Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. It was Lewis who McCall shocked to win his belt the year before. Since then, McCall had notched one successful defence – a tight points win over the ancient Larry Holmes.
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