Boxing hero Frank Bruno has spoken out about his time in St Andrews mental health hospital in Northampton.
The 50-year-old star revealed that he is still fighting the mental illness which first saw him sectioned in 2003.
He said: “Mental illness is a very powerful thing. If it is with you it is probably going to be there until the day you die. I am trying so hard to break mine, but it is not easy. It is my toughest fight ever.”
Frank, who quit boxing 16 years ago, won 40 out of 45 professional fights and was crowned champion of the world on September 2, 1995.
The sportsman was sectioned again this year on April 13 after family members reported their fears about his mental state to local health officials.
He was taken from his home near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire to a specialist mental health unit at Basildon Hospital in Essex.
The former heavyweight champion of the world said: “I need to be clear about this – going back into hospital was not my decision. But once it happened I took my punishment and I didn’t cry. I was just pumped full of drugs and it didn’t make me better. It made me worse.”
Frank was released on April 20 after a medical board ruled he should be allowed to go home but on May 6 the police took him to St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton.
He said: “I was in there five weeks but it felt like five years.
“It is harder than being in the ring. At least in boxing it is 12 rounds and then you come out. In hospital I could never see when it was going to end.
“I felt it was a bad place for me. In the end all I wanted to do was get out.”
Frank said there needs to be an improvement in how mental health is treated, and added: “At the moment we think the best way is to put people in hospital and give them medicine. But for me that was the worst thing to do.”
Frank was released from St Andrew’s in June and is now under the care of community doctors who visit him at home once a month.
He said: “Now I am out I want to stay out. I take my medicine and I am doing what the doctors say. I am just working on staying alive.
“After I got out I remember sitting at home looking at my belts again – I hold my memories of boxing very, very close, in many ways it does inspire me.
“This may well be the toughest fight of my life – but I am going to do all I can to win it.”
Quotes courtesy of the Sunday Mirror.