Buglioni 2

Nothing quite excites in the boxing world like a young gifted fighter who comes to fight.

Enfield's 22-year -old super-middleweight prospect Frank Buglioni is fast becoming just that, but explains that while he is happy to be labelled one of British boxing's rising young talents, he is happy to learn the hard way.

Hard work and dedication, two essential ingredients are needed in a sport that can often be the most challenging and headstrong of athletic endeavours, but this alone does not guarantee success in a sport as demanding and sometimes pitiless as boxing.

Frank Buglioni is only too aware of this, and is determined not to leave anything to chance, as he progresses on a path that will hopefully one day lead to titles, and recognition amongst British boxing fans that he was a fighter that left it all in the ring.

Frank is at the TKO gym in Canning Town, East London where he has just finished being put through his paces by his coach, and former east end fighter Mark Tibbs - push ups, press ups, skipping and banging away at punch bags in determined fashion is just part of his daily routine.

The bandages are still on his fists and sweat drips off him as he winds the clock back to his amateur days whilst not always believing boxing would be his future path.

"I was always into different sports as a youngster" he says. "Football, swimming a bit of everything really. I wanted to use boxing as a tool to keep fit and boost my performance and it wasn't until a guy my dad worked with, Lee Hirst, introduced me to a trainer to do a bit of boxing and pad work with him. And after a year I liked it so much that I decided to join a club and pack all the other sports up and go from there."

Frank then went from strength to strength having close to 70 amateur bouts with only 10 losses on his slate, stopping over 50 per cent of his opponents in the process. Headstrong and with a willingness to fight all comers, the young prodigy from Enfield still holds fond memories of his days in the vest and head guard in an amateur career that started late compared to some.

"I joined Repton when I was around 16 or 17" he recalls "I went in the novices for them and won that and then a couple of years later I went in the NABCs and I won that with Repton.  I then boxed for England a few times, then went into the ABAs where I got beat by Kirk Garvey who then went to the final, and got called up for the GB trials around a year later, done really well at the trials and managed to secure a place there."

The Enfield man then recalls his decision to ditch his vest for the pro ranks whilst conceding that it was a tough decision to go pro with the London 2012 Olympics fast approaching in his home city for the first time since 1948.

It was something he always knew would happen with his all action come forward aggressive style more suited to the pro game.

"It was between me and Anthony Ogogo as we were both vying for that number one position when I was in the GB squad doing well, I went to the Commonwealth feds and got a silver medal there and had a few good wins, training hard and looking good and then Ogogo started to catch up and get a few chances.

"We had a box off in November of last year and he beat me on points and since then I felt like I should make the decision.  As I could keep chasing and waiting for my chance again or go pro, but I always knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to make a better pro than I did an amateur. My stance and my strengths have always been suited to the pros as I wasn't the fastest amateur but I was always strong and tough and could hit hard."

Frank then comes back to the present and his psyche switches back to the friendly, well-spoken pro that is now wasting little time in establishing his name among the country's brightest prospects.

He put pen to paper last summer, signing with Frank Warren, and is now making great strides as pro, going 3 - 0 so far with two quick-fire stoppages to his name, stopping Sabie Montieth for the first time on his pro debut. Whilst halting tough battle hardened Paul Morby in one, with only durable Ryan Clark has heard the final bell thus far.

"I was over the moon with my debut. I didn't expect the knockout to come so early if I'm honest as we knew Sabie was strong and tough from clips we had seen before of him, me and Mark both knew he was better than his record suggested," Buglioni recalls.

"The Morby fight was very rewarding as he is normally a guy who does not get stopped and has shared the ring with some quality fighters whilst usually going the distance, but the shot landed and he wasn't able to recover in time.

"The Ryan Clark fight was good experience as it was the first time I had been taken the distance and he did what he had to do to survive. He caught me with a couple of shots but I won the fight comfortable and felt good in there the whole way through and was happy to get a few rounds under my belt."

Mark Tibbs is son of the legendary east end trainer Jimmy Tibbs, who has guided fighters such as Nigel Benn, Chris Pyatt, Charlie Magri, Barry McGuigan, and Frank Bruno to world title glory.

He knows only too well what it takes to reach the top and believes that in Buglioni he has a fighter who, providing he listens, trains well, and lives the life could be knocking on the door for titles in the near future.

"Franks a great talent and a dedicated trainer, he listens well and responds to every bit of advice you give him. He is a much better boxer now than when he was an amateur "he explains "he keeps on improving with every fight and every training camp. Within the next 12 - 18 months, if he continues to improve the way he has been, the aim would be to have him in some sort of title fight."

And with improving and stoppage victories, comes a growing fan base. The 'Buglioni Army' as they call themselves continues to grow as Frank grants that it only helps the cause come fight night, as a solid 300 strong descend onto the venue of his fights and cheer him from the stands as he goes into battle and compromises that his growing fan base is a big incentive for him to put on a show once the first bell goes.

"It's all friends and family" laughs Frank "the supporters stem from that and my brother, he brings about 20 or 30 of his mates along and they create a great atmosphere and all put their team Buglioni t-shirts on and everyone gets involved. Then you get all my friends from different areas they all bring in more and more, all my family, my dad and all his friends come down so it's really starting to branch out and I love every one of them that come along."

The super-middleweight is also aware that he currently resides in one of the hottest divisions both domestically and on the world stage. As he acknowledges that learning the ropes, tough sparring and competitive fights are a must if he is to ever fulfil his undoubted potential. He talks in an upbeat tone as he lists both Arturo Gatti and Oscar De La Hoya as his two favourite fighters, whilst being enticed by the Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran trilogy that had the boxing world gripped in the early 80's, and admits that he keeps a keen eye on his division on both sides of the Atlantic whilst hoping that one day he sees his name up in lights on the big stage.

"Super middle is a great division at the moment and I don't want to look too far ahead as I am only 22 and still maturing; you're probably looking at Andre Ward as one of the pound for pound best in the world at the moment. He is a great fighter and I love watching him fight. Then there is the likes of Carl Froch and Lucian Bute a close second, both great fighters and all different styles as well so it's really interesting. I think De Gale and Groves within a year, two years I think they will be doing really well on the world scene I have a lot of respect for them two fighters and both have different strengths in different areas. I will keep my feet on the ground continue to work hard in the gym and push myself with Mark and Jimmy and who knows."

By Chris McCarthy

14/03/2012 22:27:48