This weekend the #3 ranked featherweight by the WBO, and 2004 Olympian for the Australian team, Joel Brunker, gave me some of his time to talk to me about his past, present and future. He happened to be in Vegas to watch the Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight, only his 2nd time ever in the US, and he was nice enough to give me an update on his next fight, his relationship with IBF Featherweight Champion, fellow countryman Billy Dib, and what he wants to be remembered as he progresses though his career. Just to see where his mind is for his 1st pro fight outside of his home country, I asked him what he thinks his most nervous moment was: His Olympic fight, his pro debut, or this, his 1st fight in the US. He said that his fight at the Olympics was his most nervous moment, so even though he is excited about his US debut, he shouldn’t be overwhelmed.
The 26 year old Aussie, Joel Brunker (23-0 with 13 KOs), who is promoted by Gary Shaw Promotions and Angelo DiCarlo of ACE Boxing Promotion, arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday to see the fight. He said “It was an unreal experience, I loved it, and the atmosphere was just unreal.” However, that’s not the only reason he decided to step on US soil for only the 2nd time in his life. He will be going into training for the next 6 weeks as he will be fighting on October 27th in the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in upstate NY, the same venue that Gennady Golovkin fought in earlier this month. Joel stated that his normal walking around weight is 139, but 2 weeks before the fight, he is sure he can get down to his 126 lb limit. His opponent is still unknown as his negotiations are still ongoing and he will wait until he gets to okay from promoters, Shaw and DiCarlo before revealing it.
Brunker got motivated to go into the sport in a semi weird way, he said, “I fought with my brothers all the time and I wanted to get better, I wanted to be the best, so getting in the ring helped me get better at that.” Joel only turned pro in 2008, so he is still a relatively young in terms of pro experience, so I asked when he thinks that he’ll be ready for a title shot, he replied, “I think in another year or 2, another handful of big fights and I’ll be ready.” However, I did ask if he was given a shot now to face boxers like Chris John, Orlando Salido, and Celestino Caballero and he said, “I love competition, so I wouldn’t be afraid to fight any of them, no matter what, I want to fight the best.” What Brunker lacks in pro experience, he definitely makes up for in amateur experience as he had a record of 106-19, won 6 NSW Championships, 4 Australian Championships, to go with multiple Gold medals at the Arafura and Oceania Games.
One fighter that Brunker said he would like to face is current IBF belt holder Billy Dib. He previously said in another interview that he wants to get a title for his own before he fights the fellow Aussie. I asked if he knew Billy personally and he stated, “I’ve known him for a long time, since 2002 I think, 10 years, I fought him in amateurs when I was just starting out, and then we were both going for the 2004 Olympic team.” Then I asked, how many more fights till we get a fight between the 2, he said “It depends on how my next fight goes, I want to concentrate on this fight, then I’ll speak with Gary and we’ll go from there.” I then brought up the point that when a country has 2 or more young guys that they think can be superstars, they usually keep them away from each other for a while, and does he think that could happen with him and Dib. He replied, “It would be better if we fought later on, the more we can build, the more we can make a name for ourselves and make it a bigger fight for Australia.”
The 1 criticism of Brunker has been his power, he is a very technically sound fighter, but only has 13 KOs in his 23 fights, so I asked if that’s something that he wants to add to his repertoire. He responded, “My last few fights I’ve been trying to chase the knockdown, probably a little too much, that’s been a problem, so I’m good with where I’m at right now”. I then asked what his goal for his career is. Does he want to dominate 1 division like a Chris John or does he want to get a title, possibly fight Dib, and then move up in weight, and the 1 goal he stated was what every young boxer should strive for, “I just want to be known as a great fighter.”
It was a pleasure to finally officially interview Joel, as I’ve spoken with him through twitter numerous times. Because of that, I also know that Joel is a very conscious social media guy, he is very attainable, and goes back and forth with all of his fans on twitter and facebook, so I wanted to give him a chance to give his fans a final message. Joel stated, “Thanks for all the support, we’ll get another win, and we’ll go on from there.”
Joel can be reached on his facebook with the username Joel Brunker or on his twitter handle, which is @JoelBrunker.