FRANK BUGLIONI Q&A

In the build up to this Friday’s sold-out show at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, boxing writer Glyn Evans has interviewed the fighters featuring on the undercard – starting today with unbeaten super-middleweight Frank Buglioni.

The Enfield puncher, who’s stopped two out of two inside the first round, takes on Navemby’s Ryan Clark over four rounds, with Kevin Mitchell’s return against Felix Lora headlining the show.

See the show live and exclusive on the New Undisputed Home of Boxing BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) on Friday from 8pm on Friday 10th February.

Name: Frank Buglioni

Born: Enfield

Age: 22

Family background: I’m the third of four children. The Italian is from my dad’s side. I still live with my parents in Winchmore Hill, N21, north London. I’ve no kids yet.

Trade: I work as a building surveyor. I passed nine GCSEs, including six A grades plus the International Baccalaureate. I went to Westminster University to study surveying on day release for a couple of years but had to put it on hold when I got selected for the GB Olympic squad.

Nickname: Not got one as yet. In the amateurs it was ‘The Bug’ but the pronunciation wasn’t right. It’s Boo-lee-own-ee, so I want to shed that.

What age did you become interested in boxing and why? I was about 13 or 14. In my early teens I was keen on all sports, football, tennis, swimming, athletics….and just joined the Waltham Forest ABC to get a bit fitter and stronger, more confident. I grew to love boxing so much I packed all the other sports in!

What do you recall of your amateur career? As I say, I started at Waltham Forest but after just three or four bouts I joined the Repton. (Head coach) Tony Burns oversaw everything but I was coached initially by Mark Wilkes, then later by Gary McCarthy and a geezer called Joe.

All told, I had over 60 amateur fights and only lost seven or eight. I must’ve stopped 50 to 60% of my amateur opponents. I won a junior novice competition then, at 18, I won the National Boys Clubs, Class C. I went in the senior ABAs twice, and stopped six of my eight opponents. In 2009 I lost to Kirk Garvey in the London final then, last year, I lost to John Dignam on a double count back in the English semis.

I didn’t box for England until I was 19 but made ten or eleven (international) appearances and made it to the GB Olympic Podium Squad. I boxed for England at the Commonwealth Feds in India, where I lost in the final to Vijender Singh from India. He was the world number one but I broke his nose in round one and was close to stopping him. In a rematch later, they gave him a standing count of about 40! I also fought for England in Sweden, France, Ireland and Scotland. With the Repton, I boxed in Cyprus, Denmark and Norway. Great experiences.

I beat Hosea Burton in the GB box-offs. That Podium Squad was very intense, very professional. We’d go to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from Monday to Thursday and train three times a day. We’d only get four weeks off per year but I really learnt a lot. Sparring against squads from China, Kazakhstan, France, Germany really brought me on. It was a fantastic apprenticeship for the pros and I made some great friends, guys like Callum Smith, Tom Stalker and Warren Baister.

Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I always knew in my heart of hearts that the amateurs didn’t really suit my style. It was always going to be very hard to qualify for the Olympics and it started getting slightly harder for me to make 75kilos. I knew I needed an ABA title to seriously challenge Anthony Ogogo and, when I lost in the ABA semis to Dignam, I knew the dream was over. I wish Anthony all the best. It’ll be very tough to qualify for the Olympics but he’s definitely got the tools and potential to medal if he makes it.

Tell us about your back up team: I’m managed by Frank Warren, promoted by Frank Warren Promotions and trained by Mark and Jimmy Tibbs…mostly Mark. Mark really knows his stuff, keeps up to the minute with all the strength and conditioning stuff, is very adaptable and has real enthusiasm. I always leave the gym feeling great.

What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? Being at the four round stage of my career, I’m training all the time, rather than having a camp. Breaks would just waste valuable learning time and, right now, I’m learning so much.

I train five days a week, sometimes six. I’m up at six, drive to work then, from the site, go for a three to four mile run most mornings around the canals in Hackney. I work as a building surveyor from about eight till four then go to the TKO gym in Canning Town for a couple of hours straight after work.

I’ll start with a ‘stretch out’, then shadow box, either spar or go on the pads, do a couple on the bags, finish with some strength and conditioning, then home about half seven.

I most enjoy sparring cos it’s closest to the real thing but, lately, I’ve really got into the shadow boxing. Mark puts a great emphasis on that. My least favourite part, believe it or not, is the rest. If Mark gives me a day off, I get bored!

Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I’m definitely a come forward fighter but I’m trying to become a come forward counter-puncher, slipping and rolling as I come in.

My best qualities would be my dedication and strength of mind. I’ve always been able to punch. In my second amateur bout as a young teenager, I flattened some kid straight away with a right hand and I always like to win by stoppage. That way there can be no arguments and it makes it more entertaining for the crowd. Since going pro, my accuracy and punch picking have improved massively and I’m even more dangerous.

I like to win at all costs but with the least amount of damage. At the end of the day, it is a sport.

What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Just to keep picking up experience really, from varied sparring and regular fights. Looking over my shoulder in the gym I’ve got Billy Joe Saunders and Kevin Mitchell to try and emulate. The skills they possess are unreal. Bill has tremendous head movement and I’m working at improving mine to avoid shots that could shorten my career. I’m also trying to master that Kevin Mitchell left uppercut!

What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? The size of the gloves. They’re much smaller which allows you to get your shots through easier and, when you land, they know about it! I badly bruised my hands after my first fight so, on Billy Joe’s advice, I’ve since switched to Grant gloves which offer greater protection.

Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? That would be Carl Froch in sparring. Twice I did five rounds with him and you could hit him with a baseball bat and he wouldn’t be hurt. He’s also far more elusive and has a greater variety of shots than you’d expect. Tough man.

All time favourite fighter: Oscar De La Hoya. His style was so refined. He had lovely combinations and could hit fast and hard.

All time favourite fight: The first Castillo-Corrales fight. Unbelievable, especially if, like me, you watched it not knowing the result.

Which current match would you most like to see made? Mayweather-Pacquiao, but it might be a fraction past its sell by date. Domestically, I’d like to see Froch-Cleverly. That could be very interesting.

What is your routine on fight day? At the level I’m currently at, I don’t weigh in till the afternoon of the fight so, given I can’t eat, I try to expend as little energy as possible. After the weigh-in, I’ll have some nice healthy food that won’t bloat me too much but I’m not giving away any secrets. Then I’ll just relax in the changing rooms. Once I’m in the company of Mark (Tibbs) my nerves disappear. I’ll wrap my hands, loosen up and work on getting my frame of mind ready to fight. Half an hour before the fight, I’ll start getting a full sweat on.

Entrance music: Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes

What are your ambitions as a boxer? I’m taking each fight as it comes and leave timescales to (matchmaker) Dean Powell but, if I can get enough rounds in, I’d like a Southern Area fight by the beginning of 2013. Before I retire, I’d love a British and Commonwealth belt and a chance at world honours.

How do you relax? Just chill with friends. I don’t play any sports now because I’m always too shattered after training and the risk of injury is too great but I like to watch the very big events on tele. I’m always watching boxing.

Football team: Chelsea

Read: Fighting Fit, Boxing News and Boxing Monthly plus fact based stuff, sports autobiographies.

Music: I like dance, hip-hop, rock….a bit of everything.

Films/TV: I’ll watch crime thrillers and gangster films plus Two and a Half Men.

Aspiration in life: Just to be successful.

Motto: The harder I train, the luckier I get!

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