Frank Bruno admits he knows world title fighting days 'are over'
Frank Bruno has spoken out about talk of a return to the ring - admitting he knows "deep down the days of me fighting for world titles are over".
The former boxing champion sparked fears for his safety after he told ITV's This Morning that he was "coming back into boxing".
The much-loved sportsman hung up his boxing gloves in 1996 after suffering a detached retina, and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Bruno, 54, said he had returned to training in the ring to help him cope with the effects of his condition and the medication he uses to control it.
Addressing his recent comments in an open letter to his fans published in the Sunday Mirror, he writes: "Any champion will tell you it is very hard to turn off those feelings when you leave the ring. I am human and I spoke from the heart.
"But I know deep down the days of me fighting for world titles are gone.
"The authorities have said I would never get a licence to fight again so I will continue to train and keep healthy through boxing as it is an important part of staying well."
The former WBC heavyweight champion admitted he felt "a bit mugged off" after some younger boxers said they could have beaten him in a bout.
But he played down his earlier comments suggesting he wanted to make a return to competitive boxing, writing: "I want to reassure people I'd never, ever want to put myself in a position where I would get hurt - I would not put my family and friends through any of that."
He said that while he used to fight competitors in the ring now he is in "a whole different kind of battle - against my bipolar".
His two daughters, Rachel and Nicola Bruno, have spoken about their determination to keep their father from returning to professional boxing, fearing it could permanently damage his health.
Rachel, 29, told the Daily Mail: "I love my father and I'm so proud of him, but when he retired he'd achieved everything he set out to achieve. He's had his time. Just leave it to the youngsters."
Bruno has been sectioned in hospital several times because of the effects of his bipolar disorder.
Since being diagnosed he has spoken candidly about his experiences and campaigned for more investment into mental health services and in his letter he renewed his plea to meet Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the state of mental health care.
He wrote: "The message I wanted to get across is that David Cameron needs to do more to help those suffering mental ill health."
He added: "I'd love to tell the PM how much we need to improve the after-care people get when they leave hospital. I'd warn him how, all too often, people are given drugs and told they must stay on them for years."
He said healthy eating and exercise can be better tools in treating the condition.