The contest was for the WBC Heavyweight Championship.
Oliver McCall had won the WBC belt by knocking out Lennox Lewis on the 24th September 1994 in London. He only made one defence of his title, a hotly contested and closely fought decision against former world heavyweight champion Larry Holmes on the 8th April 1995.
The fight was going to be Bruno’s fourth attempt at winning a world title. WBA Champion Tim Witherspoon knocked him out in 11 rounds back in 1986 and undisputed champion Iron Mike Tyson stopped in 5 rounds in 1989 and the WBC champion Lennox Lewis finished his fellow Brit in 7 rounds back in 1993.
In the opening rounds Bruno unloaded a barrage of left jabs that left McCall stunned but McCall absorbed the punishment and put up little defence. He waited until the fifth round to throw a meaningful punch but by then Bruno was confident and ahead on points. As the fight wore on it became apparent that McCall’s last hope to retain the title was to win by a knockout.
McCall hurt Bruno with an uppercut in the eleventh round and in the twelfth, McCall shoved Britain’s hero around the ring and unloaded a hard right to Bruno’s head. McCall banged Bruno with another body shot and a left-right combination. There was blood from Bruno’s mouth as he was hanging on desperately, turned the final minute into a dance of attrition.
All three judges gave the victory to Britain’s Frank Bruno and Frank become the only third British-born boxer to win a world heavyweight title along with Bob Fitzsimmons and Lennox Lewis and he was the first to win it on British soil.
Judge Malcolm Bulner gave Bruno a 115-113 victory. Newton Campos and Fay Solis each had Bruno the winner by 117-111
On the undercard we saw Nigel Benn take on Daniel Perez for the WBC World super middleweight title, Nigel Benn won by a 7th round knock-out.
Virgil Hill took on Drake Thadzi for the WBA World light heavyweight title and Virgil won by unanimous Decision.
Bahre Ahmeti took on Britain’s Steve Foster for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental super welterweight title and Bahre won by a 4th-round TKO.
Finally, Paul Ryan took on Karl Taylor for the Welterweight (8 rounds) and Paul won by a 3rd-round TKO.
Bruno’s reign as a champion was short lived as he lost his first defence against Mike Tyson and he retired shorty afterwards.
McCall returned to the ring 6 months later when he beat future WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev. In 1997 he fought in a rematch against Lennox Lewis for the vacant WBC title which he lost in bizarre fashion as he refused to fight and started crying.
The fight was shown on Sky Sports in the UK and Showtime in the US.
Those were great nights that we will never forget.