MIKE TYSON welcomed Frank Bruno into his home with open arms, instead of clenched fists, to celebrate their reunion 31 years on from their undisputed heavyweight world title battle.
In February 1989, with Iron Mike perhaps at his terrifying peak after recently demolishing an aging but all-time great Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks, Bruno went to Las Vegas for his second crack at gold.
Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno boxed twice with the American former monster winning both world title clashes but remain friends
The build-up was ferocious, the fight was even delayed after Tyson battered former opponent Mitch Green in a street brawl, slashing a gash into his eye and breaking his own hand.
The Sky Original documentary that brought the two fighting icons back together captures how vastly different each Adonis was depicted leading up to the clash.
On the mouth-watering press tour, Tyson said he could not imagine Bruno even being a prize fighter because he was such a “sweet and docile guy”.
While Tyson was billed as ‘an animal’ a warped human being who took immense pleasure from inflicting pain.
The childhood bullying victim lisped little more than threats now he was a fearsome man whose fanbase seemed to grow in tandem with his rap sheet.
Bruno, in stark contrast, was the 6ft 3in powerhouse still struggling to convince hardcore fight fans – who doubted his courage and chin could match his bodybuilder muscles – that he was the real deal.
The Englishman’s adoring family, including daughter Rachel, did not want their hero to leave them for the fight and she had good reason to be cautious.
The gentle-giant Londoner was battered into the canvas from Tyson’s first trademark attack but bravely beat the count.
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And he even wobbed the 22-year-old Brooklyn monster, for the first time in his career, with a peach of a left hook.
At the end of the third, Tyson clumped Bruno after the bell but in typical fashion the Brit was a gentleman and did not retaliate or make a fuss.
Bruno was brutalised in the hard-to-watch fifth but refused to return to the canvas. But the proud nation was relieved when referee Richard Steele dived in to save him from any more punishment.
Tyson, though, did not revel in his one-sided victory. Even with his new and toxic entourage clambering for his attention, the Baddest Man on the Planet walked back across the ring to embrace Bruno in a hug that marked the start of the sort of friendship only boxing can create.
Seven years later, with enough water under the bridge to drench the desert, the pair crossed swords again.
Bruno had finally been crowned WBC champion six months earlier, at the fourth time of asking, by beating Oliver McCall in a tear-soaked night at Wembley.
Tyson had lost four prime years of his career to a rape conviction and saw a ripe and vulnerable 34-year-old Bruno as easy prey for the green and gold belt.
Back in Sin City, Bruno’s left eyelid was slashed open in the opening round and his jaw and brain reminded brutally of Tyson’s ferocity.
News Group Newspapers LtdIn 1989 a prime Mike Tyson butchered Bruno in their first clash in Las Vegas[/caption] News Group Newspapers LtdGentle-giant Bruno took a savage beating from Tyson in their first 1989 meeting[/caption] ReutersThe Brooklyn bad boy brutalised the brave Brit in their 1996 rematch for the WBC title[/caption]
The housewives’ favourite was rescued by ref Miles Lane in the third and, having suffered eye a torn retina, he retired with his name etched into the history books forever.
Both men went on to suffer mental health breakdowns and addictions and seemed destined to live out the remainder of their lives unhappily.
But in 2021 they are both in superb shape, so much so that 54-year-old Tyson just boxed Roy Jones Jr in a pay-per-view smash hit.
It was in December when Sky managed to get Bruno on a Covid-compliant trip to the US to break bread, instead of bones, with his old foe.
At the time, the national treasure could not hide his boyish excitement, telling his Facebook friends: “I am delighted to say after almost 9 months waiting we have filmed the Sky film special of Mike Tyson & myself.
“I went to the USA last week and yes we were all tested a number of times!”
The documentary airs in February, SunSport has an exclusive look at the trailer today, and it looks like a heartwarming tale of two brutally broken men rebuilding themselves and finally finding peace again.
When the pair first reunite, Bruno’s unmistakable giggle cracks the ice and Tyson smashes it by whispering “I’m here for you, baby, I’m here for you.”
Bruno v Tyson is available on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV from Friday 26th February at 21:00. The exclusive trailer was made available by Sky as part of announcing a record line-up of new and exclusive original TV shows and films for 2021 and 2022.
ReutersThe Londonder was almost smashed through the ropes in the third round when Iron Mike secured the win.[/caption] Tyson and Bruno have both battled addiction and mental health problems and are winning the battle