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Joe Bugner: I am never coming back home

Sport | Published:

Joe Bugner today insisted he's never coming 'home' – as he believes the British public will never forgive him for beating the late Sir Henry Cooper.

The Hungarian-born heavyweight settled on our shores in 1957, controversially beating an ageing 'Auld Enry' 15 years later by a quarter of a point aged just 21.

Bugner, 64, believes that started a hate affair that forced him to move to the United States in 1975, later setting on the Gold Coast in Australia. He's been there ever since.

The now 'Aussie Joe' still misses England, where he grew up, but admitted he won't run the risk of an over 40-year grudge opening up again by moving back to Blighty.

He said: "I wish I had never ruddy fought Henry Cooper. It got me chased out of England. In the eyes of the press, I was a refugee who had come to Britain and made a fortune by beating people up.

"I quit the country because I'd had enough of it. I just couldn't stand living here anymore. I left with a sour taste in my mouth, but it was worth it.

"The only thing I miss is my fans, when they cheered for me they used to give me the strength and energy to continue boxing.

"Even now, they give me a lot of pride and happiness. I went America for 10 years and now live in Australia, which was where I won the world heavyweight title. They accepted me whole-heartedly.

"Living there has been hard, I would like to come home one day but I don't think it's going to happen, because of the situations that would arise from the press. I will come and visit, instead."

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