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2nd October 2012

Frank Buglioni Talks Career, Frank Warren & Mark Tibbs – By Kasim Aslam

If you were to hear the name Frank “Wise Guy” Buglioni for the first time you may assume that he was an American Italian part of the 1920’s gang culture which defines the likes of Al Capone and Arthur Schultz. However, Frank Buglioni is anything but. The 23 year old from Enfield is a British super middleweight prospect who is promoted under the Frank Warren Promotions banner. Rising to prominence with a perfect professional record of 6 wins, 4 coming by way of knockout, “Wise Guy Buglioni” has been tipped for a bright future in the sport of boxing. Fighthype UK caught up with the prospect to discuss the transition from the Amateur ranks to the professional game.

Frank Buglioni made a crucial decision at a young age. The decision was to turn professional after a successful amateur career. However, it came at the expense of missing out the GB Olympic team as he decided to refuse the temptations of fighting in London to begin an eagerly awaited professional career.

“If I’m completely honest, I’ve had such a great first year to my professional career, I haven’t felt that I’ve missed out on anything.” He confesses. “Don’t get me wrong I was really excited for my old GB team mates and loved watching them box. I also felt a great deal of pride with how well they did. Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell & Nicola Adams all winning gold medals were great achievement and it will really promote amateur boxing in Great Britain.”

The Enfield native has no animosity towards the games or the amateur ranks. For him it was part of a transition and a decision he made and stuck with. Speaking on the Olympic Games, Buglioni continued his praise for Team GB.

“They were absolutely brilliant, I knew they would do well under the guidance of Rob McCracken though, he definitely knows his stuff and the amount of talent in that squad is phenomenal like the strength in depth at each weight. I was really disappointed with the scoring in Tom Stalkers bout though; I thought Tom was a favourite for Gold and strongly believe the judges made the wrong decision for his fight.”

Buglioni was almost certain to join Team GB with a highly successful and flourished amateur career. Paying his dues, Buglioni had a total of 70 fights and amassed 60 wins. The experience has made the transition to the pro game even more comfortable but even more importantly it has developed a philosophy which Buglioni stands by, which is to have solid foundation in order to succeed.

“The amateurs were a great experience for me. All my fundamentals were built during the amateurs and the last two years with the GB squad was fantastic. All the international competitions and training camps really benefit you as a fighter and teach you how to deal with the adversities you come across during your pro career. In total I had around 70 fights, winning over 60. I stopped about 30 of my opponents which is quite rare in the amateurs, especially in the middleweight division. So overall I am really pleased with my achievements.”

“I think it’s imperative to have some sort of amateur career before turning pro, even things like making weight, having done it so many times in the amateurs you really get to know your body and how you can perform during different training scenarios. As they say, you can’t buy experience.”

At the young age of 23, Buglioni has accomplished a great deal in comparison to other fighters the same age thus putting him in the limelight as one of the best up and coming prospects. As he previously mentioned his high knockout percentage in the amateur ranks has boosted his profile as a fighter with a fan friendly style who brings excitement into his contests. This obviously produces expectations from pundits and fans alike that the super middleweight has to constantly adhere to.

“It’s an honour to be regarded in such high esteem and I can only thank my trainer Mark Tibbs for the consistent improvements and of course for getting me in great shape for the fights.” He states. “I thrive on the pressure but I also know that all my friends & family, that make up ‘Team Buglioni’, are there to see me do well and they will be behind me win lose or draw. This puts me in a very strong frame of mind.”

Someone with a reputation like “Wise Guy” would have been swamped with constant decision making that surrounds a boxer as he begins his career as a professional. The prospect made one of those decisions in terms of promoter by signing with Frank Warren and Frank Warren Promotions. He joins a wealth of talent under Warren such a George Groves, Billy Joe Saunders and Ricky Burns. As far as Buglioni was concerned choosing Frank Warren was a simple choice.

“In my opinion he is the biggest and best promoter in the country. Looking at how many fighters he’s got to the top level made the choice easy.” He states excitingly. “I have a good relationship with Frank. Me, Mark Tibbs & Frank Warren all expect me to continue to improve and hopefully be fighting for titles in the future. I expect Frank to provide me with the right fights at the right time, which he has done so far and I’m confident he will do in the future, so long as I am performing. It’s a two way street. I have to stick to my side of the deal, perform, entertain and win.”

“All my team mates have been great. We are like a family, all training together and supporting each other at fights. Kevin Mitchell especially has really helped me feel at home in the professional game, having been there and done it for so long, he has offered me some great advice that has really paid off.”

One major positive that comes with signing to Frank Warren Promotions is the exposure on the self proclaimed “Home of boxing” Boxnation. The channel, owned by Frank Warren, has showcased a large number of domestic and international fights. However, the biggest aspect of Boxnation is that it televises all the undercard fights on any respective card, which is a huge positive for Frank Buglioni.

“Boxnation is great. Unless you’re an Olympic champion, young professionals never really get exposure and TV coverage that early in their careers, so the opportunity to build a following from day one has been a dream come true. It has also opened other avenues for myself outside of the ring, that certainly wouldn’t of been available if I hadn’t of had that exposure. It’s brilliant for boxing. The fans get to see the journey these new fighters take. Up and coming pros in my stable such as Billy Morgan, Charlie Hoy & Tom Baker have all agreed how motivating it is to fight in front of a live television audience.”

Sabie Montieth would be the obstacle in the way of the Enfield Favourites first ever professional victory. A bout scheduled for 4 rounds, Buglioni finished the job in the first round. Landing a devastating left hook followed by an over hand right to deliver his first victory. On 14th September 2012, Buglioni was back in the ring at York Hall on the undercard of a Billy Joe Saunders fight. Late substitute Joe Rae was scheduled to fight in a 6 rounder. However, the 23 year old had other ideas as he stopped Rae in the 2nd round, sending his fans into raptures.

“I thought I would have felt more nervous against Montieth, but with Mark Tibbs’ preparation having covered every eventuality, I was very confident. I couldn’t have asked for anything better on my debut, and having a first round knockout gave me the opportunity to fight two weeks later and really jump starts my career.”

“I was very pleased with that performance against Joe Rae. I tried to work behind my jab more and set my shots up and it worked. Fighting a late substitute wasn’t a problem. I was in very good shape for that fight due to another great training camp, so the opponent didn’t matter.” He says confidently.

Legendary East London trainers and farther and son duo Jimmy Tibbs and Mark Tibbs have led Buglioni to his professional successes. Both, fighter and trainer seem to be forging an ideal partnership that they hope will bring success throughout their service together. Speaking about how he became involved with the Tibbs family and the future of the partnership, Buglioni sounded in high spirits.

“I went to the TKO Gym for a sparring session with Billy Joe Saunders when I was preparing for the ABA’s.” He narrates. “Mark saw something in me and asked me to come down for a taster session. After one session we clicked. I already knew about Mark & Jimmy’s great reputation and had seen how many fighters they had taken to top level. I also witnessed the improvement of Billy Joe Saunders first hand having sparred him on many occasions. It is apparent how good as trainers they are.”

“I would say his (Mark Tibbs) attention to detail is what separates him from the rest. He doesn’t miss a trick. He’s also very in-tune with his fighters, he knows when I’m feeling good even before I do, so he’ll ease me off before I peak. Same as when I feel tired, he rests me because he’s seen and done it all before. It’s very reassuring. We’ve also got a very close bond which means there is a lot of trust between us.”

Our lengthy chat was coming to an end, but before it was over “Wise Guy Buglioni” was clear in stating his future plans that he has mapped out and intends to stick to. One thing that stuck out when interviewing the young prospect is the humility and knowledge he has when speaking on his future. Not getting carried away, Buglioni lists aims that are realistic and will keep him grounded throughout his journey.

“Boxing is a very hard sport and I try not to look too far into the future, by concentrating on my next fight I stay focused. I consider the fight in hand the most important and that is how it shall remain. In the back of my mind I am aiming to win domestic titles in the next few years and then hopefully go from there. However with every level you raise the competition and the fights are tougher, so I am making sure the hard work and experience is done prior to each step-up.”

“There are a few up and coming fighters at the moment with high profiles in and around my weight division, who I think will be found out fairly early on in the pro ranks. That’s if I don’t get to them first. Currently now my next fight is scheduled for the end of November. I’m waiting on confirmation, but have already started my training camp. ‘Team Buglioni’ will be the first to know on”

Finally, Buglioni wanted to give a special message to his loyal and loud following. It’s an aspect that has played a big part in defining his campaign.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to my great friends and family. The fantastic atmosphere created by Team Buglioni seems to be a very special thing that is gaining momentum with every fight. I would like to thank all of the support and I look forward to having them by my side as we build up towards Title fights.”

For those who have never heard of the 23 year old. “Wise Guy” states this:

“If you haven’t heard of me yet, you will do soon. I am come forward fighter, I like to throw a lot of punches and put the pressure on my opponent. I’m fit and strong so I like to impose my pace. But I am working on movement, blocking and counter punching all the time, so I become a more rounded fighter. I wouldn’t say I’m a one trick pony though. I was able to adapt in the amateurs for different opponents and I’ll do the same in the pro game. Team Buglioni will be more than happy to welcome you into its ranks.”

There is no doubt this man is extremely talented. With the skill, the humility and the ability to meet pressure and stay grounded, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for Frank Buglioni.

Kasim Aslam