History

On This Day: Tim Witherspoon wrecks Bruno-mania when he catches up with Frank Bruno in 11 rounds

Frank Bruno Tim Witherspoon
A star-studded night at Wembley Stadium ends with Tim Witherspoon showing his class

TIM WITHERSPOON w rsf 11 FRANK BRUNO
July 19, 1986; Wembley Stadium, London
NOT a thriller but those of a certain age will enjoy drifting back to a time when Don King was putting together a heavyweight tournament to sort out the alphabet mess and crown one champion. This bout, a preliminary to that tournament, was bossed by Bruno in the early going but the nagging feeling that “Terrible” Tim was not going to fall was impossible to ignore. Witherspoon took control in the seventh, as he predicted beforehand, and by the 11th Bruno was fighting hard just to keep the WBA heavyweight titlist off him. A gallant effort, but Witherspoon showed his class. Or at least he did momentarily. He didn’t make it as far as the all-conquering tournament which was won by the 20-year-old wildcard, Mike Tyson.

DID YOU KNOW? Anita Dobson – AKA Angie Watts from Eastenders – was a curious choice to join Barry McGuigan as Des Lynam’s studio guest on the (delayed) BBC broadcast. When asked her opinion on the outcome she said, “I don’t know, this is the first time I’ve been to a match, but I hope he [Bruno] wins.”

WATCH OUT FOR: Search for the two-hour video that features news bulletins of the build-up to provide a fascinating glimpse into Bruno-mania that occurred in the summer of 1986. Also, see who you can spot at ringside where the likes of Henry Cooper, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Trevor Berbick, Bob Geldof and Paula Yates gathered.

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