WHILE the odds are undoubtedly stacked against him, unbeaten ‘Aussie’ Joel Brunker knows he has nothing to lose ahead of his IBF featherweight title final eliminator against Lee Selby on October 12th (AEST).
“Ever since I turned professional, all I have thought about was fighting for a world title,” said Brunker in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “This is the fight that can make that all come true.”
If Brunker, 28, is able to upset the odds and defeat the favoured Selby, 27, on foreign soil at London’s O2 Arena, he will secure the mandatory position by the IBF, which will in turn guarantee him a shot at Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich at some point next year.
Having had several high-profile fights fall through, most notably two attempts at once-reigning WBA featherweight champion Chris John, Brunker understands what is at stake in a fight that will set up his future if he is able to return home victorious.
Brunker (27-0, 15 KOs) has spent a handful of weeks in New York, seeking the best training facilities as well as the best sparring partners available as he looks to find himself in prime condition for the twelve-round fight with Selby (19-1, 7 KOs).
“I have been training the house down, so I am going in feeling well prepared for the fight and I’m ready to give it everything I have.”
“Selby is a quality fighter and I need competitive sparring to get me ready for what he is literally going to be throwing at me,” Brunker continued. “I have been sparring a variety of different style fighters, which my team feels will help me prepare best for Selby and his style of fighting.”
Brunker’s team, lead by manager Adam Wilcock of Fightcard Promotions, have worked tirelessly since the beginning of the year to secure a marquee fight for the talented New South Welshman. This is something that is not lost on Brunker, who speaks with great appreciation about both his manager and his team in general.
“My team are vitally important and I understand that without them I wouldn’t have this opportunity.” he said. “If I beat Selby, it will easily be the biggest and most important win of my career,”
“This fight is against the toughest opponent I have had to date, in his own back yard and it is for a guaranteed shot at the title. The stakes have never been higher for me and I am going in there to do everything I can to make sure I come home with a win.”
While he is confident of his chances, Brunker is equally respectful in both his assessment of Selby and his evaluation of the fight from both his own point of view and that of his opponent as well.
“The way I see it all the pressure is on Selby, not me. I am the underdog in this fight, but I like that,” Brunker explained. “I am feeling relaxed about the fight and I feel having the pressure off me will make me perform even better.”
Despite the looming chaos that awaits for him in London, Brunker remains level-headed going into the biggest fight of his career. And while a shot at an ever elusive world title fight is only one win away, Brunker is determined and focused on one thing and one thing only – a win over Lee Selby.
“I am trying not to think about a world title fight too much,” Brunker said in closing. “I am staying focused on my training and being in the best possible condition for fight night.”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz