Pro-file on Frank Buglioni
Bouts: 18 (16 wins, 12 KOs)
For Frank Buglioni it is a case of the show must go on after receiving the bombshell bulletin last Monday that his world title shot is now firmly on the horizon rather than staring him in the face.
A broken nose suffered by the champion Fedor Chudinov has, for the time being, put paid to the Enfield man challenging for the WBA super-middleweight strap on Friday, but the Wise Guy will remain the star attraction in a title contest at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Buglioni was deep in training at his Dublin camp when his father contacted trainer Paschal Collins with news that he would have to wait for his Russian date.
Initial desolation over discovering the enforced postponement after a few days gave way to a more philosophical mindset being adopted by the 26-year-old, who fully accepts it is a delay rather than a dodge.
“I was obviously devastated, absolutely gutted, but it is boxing and it’s happened before and I’m sure it will again,” reasoned Buglioni. “These are the things you have got to overcome to be able to achieve, you’ve got to get past these things and move on.
“It was Paschal in the gym who took the call as we were training at the time. Paschal didn’t tell me straight away until I had finished my sparring. Once I had finished he let me know and it was very disappointing.
“I will still be fighting on July 24 against a live opponent for some sort of title, so I will be ready for it and fully prepared. I will go out there and do a job.”
It is a scenario that leads nicely into cliché territory, but one in particular does seem appropriate. If something is worth having, it is worth waiting for.
“That’s right. It is delaying the inevitable in my eyes,” he responded, adding that he will not allow his work to go to waste.
“I’ve spent a lot of money putting things in to place and at least I will be able to put into practice what I have been working on. We will go from there and use it to our advantage.”
“Without a doubt, it kind of makes sense,” he agreed. “I was very confident going into the fight, but I will be even more confident having tried out all the things I have put into place. All the tactics I worked on, I will get another opportunity to use them all again in camp.”
At the initial announcement of his Chudinov challenge, Buglioni conceded that the fighting prowess he displays in the gym does not always transfer itself to the ring – something that will have to change when he does take a step up in class under the lights on fight night.
“I’d say the way I perform in the gym is world class and, to be fair, I would not say my last few performances in the ring have been world class.
“Having this world title in my sights has given me the added motivation and desire, it gave me the opportunity to focus all my efforts and energy into that fight – not to go looking for knockouts, just let everything come that I’ve been practicing.”
A skilled craftsman in the ring, there is no doubting the natural ability possessed by Buglioni when he boxes clever.
Getting drawn into scraps is rarely part of the gameplan, but a tendency to do so he puts down to a hang-up from his days in the vested version of the game.
“This is it, where I’ve gone wrong in the past. I carry power in both hands and I’ve always tried to look for shots. It kind of stems from the amateurs and having the demons from being on the wrong end of close decisions. I hurt opponents and landed the more telling shots, sometimes without getting the decisions.
“I went into the pro game with that at the back of my mind, that I’ve got to knock them out to win. I’ve been a little bit guilty of that in the past, but now is a new chapter in my life and I will be looking to box to the best of my ability. That is usually when the knockouts actually come.
“It is hit without being hit and land better shots than they can land on you. My defence when I don’t want to get caught it very good, so that is exactly what I need to do, keep doing what I’m doing in the gym and put it into practice when I come to fight.”
The only blot on Buglioni’s pro record was inflicted by Belarusian banger Sergey Khomitsky in April of last year. It was a defeat that led him to re-evaluate his career path and take himself away from familiar environs.
After claiming a Southern Area title in his subsequent bout, he linked up with former world champion Steve Collins and began work at brother Paschal’s Celtic Warrior gym in Dublin.
While travel and accommodation now make camps a far more costly affair, he hopes that removing himself from home comforts will be a price worth paying.
“I think you need to make sacrifices to get what you want get in life,” he considered of his change of direction. “That doesn’t just apply to boxing, but all walks of life. If you want to achieve and get to where you want to be you’ve got to make the sacrifices and really commit to something.
“Hopefully, now I have done that, the benefits will start paying off. I have spent an absolute fortune on camps – this last one about ten times what it would have been in London.
“It has bought me on ten-fold though, so I can’t complain about that.”
Even if life living out of a suitcase in a hotel room for a 10-12 week period would test the resolve of even the most seasoned traveller?
“It definitely has an impact, but it also toughens you up mentally. Although it is tough, you come through it and on the other side you are that bit stronger. It gives you the hunger to really hone in and go out there and do a job on your opponent, whoever that may be.”
A consequence of his Dublin switch was a parting of the ways with previous trainer Mark Tibbs, something Buglioni admits was a choice charged with emotion, but driven by a burning desire to give boxing his best shot.
“It was difficult, me and Mark were very close, but you only get one crack in life and only get one in boxing. So I had to make the decision that I thought was best for myself. It is a selfish sport and you need to be selfish to go and achieve.
“I knew it was the best option for me, I was happy to take all the responsibility myself and if it went wrong I only had myself to blame. I couldn’t live with myself if I blamed someone else.”
Should Buglioni eventually emerge victorious against Chudinov, with a date in September already mooted, domestic dust-ups would not be in short supply when it comes to making a defence. The super-middleweight scene in Britain is probably as buoyant as it’s ever been, with James Degale already holding a world title, George Groves soon to fight for one and the likes of Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding and Martin Murray waiting in the wings.
“Without a doubt, the strength in depth in the division in our country is phenomenal and it is a very exciting time to be a super-middleweight.
“When I get this world title shot I am going to make it count and some huge domestic clashes are all there. There will be money to be made, but also certainly a lot of excitement and the chance to put your name down in history. It is all an added incentive to me.”
The opportunity to right a wrong against Khomitsky also carries considerable appeal.
“He is a very good fighter and very experienced. That being said, if I boxed him again I would do a number on him. It was probably a bit much too soon, but I would certainly like to get my revenge on him.”
It is something Buglioni’s burgeoning flock of fans would no doubt like to witness too, once Friday Night Lights and the challenge of Chudinov have been negotiated.
One of the most popular fighters in British boxing, Buglioni is backed by an Enfield army he credits his brother with creating and cultivating.
“I must say I am very lucky to have that. I owe my brother a lot of thanks for it. His huge group of friends have really outdone themselves each time in being so amicable and welcoming to any new supporters and make them a part of the team.
“They have a great time on fight night, make plenty of noise and it certainly rubs off. I would say I know about 90 per cent of them and the ones I don’t know I get to know at the after-parties and I will be having a catch-up with my close supporters after this fight.”
The subject of Chudinov and his busted hooter is sure to come up during his post-fight chats on Friday, not to mention his prospects when the new date is sealed. Buglioni has no issue with the Russian being considered favourite and, given the circumstances, would no doubt settle for winning by a nose.
“He has had a massive amateur career but aside from Felix Sturm he hasn’t really mixed in better company than I have. That being said, he is undefeated and you can’t argue with him being favourite.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”