Frank Buglioni

Frank Buglioni

It's a long road to a world title shot.  Rarely does a fighter get an easy path to fight for a belt, and if they do then the chances are they haven't learned the requisite lessons en route.  For Frank Buglioni (16-1-1) he has been taught lessons, adapted, come back stronger and is now just two weeks away from the biggest fight of his life he spares us ten minutes to chat about what he's been throuh, and what he hopes to achieve.
 
It's 7.30 in the evening by the time I catch up with Frank.  "It's been non-stop all day" he tells me.  "But I have to give my gratitude to Spike (O'Sullivan) and Luke (Keeler) - they've got themselves in top shape to come out here to help me prepare."
 
What Buglioni is preparing for is a tilt at his first world title.  He takes on the unbeaten Fedor Chudinov on the 24th July at Wembley Arena.  Chudinov, from Russia, captured the WBA super middleweight title back in May versus German legend Felix Sturm.  He holds a record of 13 wins from 13 fights, with 10 KOs.  So how does Frank prepare himself for the biggest night of his professional career?
 
"I've had two or three top amateurs over (in Dublin) - heavy cruiserweights..  I've had Luke and Spike here, they're both similar in stature to Chudinov.  I know he has a decent reach on him (Chudinov is 3 inches smaller than Buglion at 5 ft 9 and a half inches).  But I'm going to shock him.  I've studied him, I've got Spike opening the hooks as much as he can.  I'm coming out of sparring fresh and confident."
 
When I spoke with Spike yesterday he told me that "honestly, Frank is looking as good as he ever has."  High praise indeed from the man from Cork.  He has been brought in to camp to provide world class sparring for Bugliono, and is often the last of the sparring partners to take to the ring, to make sure that the intensity remains through the sessions. 
 
"I've been out in Ireland for four weeks now.  It's my best camp yet - I say that every time , I didn't think my fitness and strength could improve but I've been working on that and I feel great.  The added incentive of a world title has taken me on to another level.  I'm happy to spar the week of the fight, I'm not getting caught.  We'll see.  But I'm getting up at six when my alarm goes and I'm ready to go running.  I'm as good as I've ever been, mentally and physically."
 
The reason this Londoner is training out in Dublin is down to his trainer, Pascal Collins.  Frank switched to Pascal shortly after his defeat to Sergey Khomitsky, but it wasn't immediate.  "After the Khomitsky fight I beat Sam Couzens for the Southern Area title (in July 2014).  That was when I left Mark (his previous trainer) - we left on good terms, I had just picked up a title.  I'm feeling better with Pascal, he learned his trade in the States and that style suits me more.  Training over in Dublin I can focus so much easier, there's less distractions.  I used to have people come to the gym - always well wishers, but it can create a distraction."
 
There was another setback for Frank in his last fight - a draw against fellow Brit Lee Markham (14-2-1) for the WBO European super middleweight title.  How much of a disappointment was that to Frank?
"Yeah, I was disappointed in the judges really.  I've watched it back myself and had me winning by two rounds - I have heard a lot of neutrals saying the same.  But he had a good crowd behind him who cheered his shots, even if they weren't landing.  I think that helped him.  But I like Lee, he's a respectful guy."
 
So if Buglioni gets through the Chudinov fight and returns home with a world title, would he give Markham a shot?  "I would love to set the record straight, I know what I should have done first time.  Before this fight came along I was meant to be fighting him, and now I think he's got an injury.  It just shows everything happens for a reason.  But if I win I need to assess all of my options."
 
After the Markham fight few foresaw that a world title shot would emerge for Buglioni.  He sees it not as a poor draw, but that Markham never got the credit he deserves.
 
"The boxing press think that because it was a Brit I was fighting it's a poor result, they look down on it.  Same with Andrew Robinson (13-0-0 when they fought) - he took some great shots.  He was a tough, tough guy and showed massive heart to come back out for the 8th round.  The boxing writers don't give domestic fighters enough credit.  Same when I lost to Khomitsky, they just dismissed my efforts.  Adam Etches suffered the same loss - his camp dismissed my efforts too.  They never called me to ask for advice and I would have happily given it to them."
 
One reputation that Buglioni carries is of a huge ticket seller.  So how many can we expect at Wembley Arena?

"I've sold over a thousand personally.  Those fans will be a massive help towards me winning the fight.  The show is selling well and I will thrive off that atmosphere.  There's 100% no pressure on me.  It's the first time I've been an underdog, but I know that if I catch him I will hurt him."
 
With that we end our conversation.  Frank has to be up at six for his run, and another hard days preparation.  His battle will be all uphill on July 24th, but with over a thousand of his fans in attendance and the best training camp of his career behind him, this underdog may find that at only 26 years of age his long road to glory becomes a golden path.
 
You can follow Frank on Twitter @FrankBuglioni
 
Frank wanted to thank Pride Scaffolding who have supported him from day one.
Tickets for July 24th are available at tww.teambuglioni.com and each purchaser receives a free tshirt.