JACK Brubaker might be the defending champion in Tokyo; but he’s fighting to prove a point.
The Cronulla native will make the second defence of his OPBF strap against favoured Japanese live-wire Suyon Takayama at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan on Monday night, with the hope of earning a marquee win.
“It’s going to be a bit of a step up in class,” admitted Brubaker in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “He (Takayama) is my mandatory defence for the OPBF title and he has a good record. I’m quite happy to go over and fight in Japan,”
Brubaker (10-1-1, 5 KOs) will become the fourth Australian in a two month span to venture across to Japan and test themselves, joining world rated lightweight Brandon Ogilvie and recently crowned OPBF ruler Dwight Ritchie.
With the aforementioned earning a win and draw respectively, Brubaker hopes to add to that tally.
“It doesn’t really bother me one bit,” he explained about fighting abroad. “I think it will be a great experience, I’m confident to win over there. I’m going to be a proud Australian walking out over there, representing my country.”
“I really believe they have underestimated me.”
Having closed the book on an injury free training camp, the 24-year-old believes he is in a good place.
“This is by far the best training camp I’ve had,” he continued. “Graham Shaw has just made me into a better boxer,”
“In my last fight when I fought Paddy Murphy, I had hair line fractures in my knuckles in my hand two weeks out.”
“I was too committed to that fight to pull out. I just did the best I could in the fight – and ended up breaking two metacarpals – in the second round of that fight. But I ended up stopping a pretty good opponent in Paddy,”
“He had never been stopped before our fight; it was a massive boost for my confidence.”
“So now going into this fight I have both hands with no problems, it’s a massive relief. Winning against Murphy with one hand and stopping him – gives me all the confidence in the world fighting Takayama – with two hands.”
For Brubaker, a win against Takayama – a fighter six years his senior – who won and defended the Japanese national title six times, will be the pinnacle of a short career that has only recently been a full-time commitment.
“When I took up boxing professionally, I was working full-time,” he elaborated. “I took it pretty serious but it was a hobby and never I saw it as being professional. It wasn’t until I had a few wins under my belt,”
“Since I fought and got the win on the Danny Green undercard last year, I gave up my full-time work and have now focused on giving boxing a red hot crack,” he added. “I now feel that each fight I am now gaining in confidence.”
“It’s been a ten week camp for this fight. I’ve been able to get thirty rounds of sparring in with Dennis Hogan – all in a week – and I’ve also been sparring the likes of Mark Lucas, George Kambosos and Valentine Borg,”
“This is by far the most confident I’ve been heading into a fight,” he concluded.
“I really have gone the extra mile for this fight, right now I feel pretty cool, calm and collected.”
The self-assured Brubaker is hopeful that a Takayama win will serve as a springboard to a Commonwealth title challenge. Despite not looking past his Japanese foe, the popular Sydneysider has one eye on Cameron Hammond.
“Takayama is ranked high in the division,” he said. “A win could put me in the top fifteen in the WBC rankings,”
“But I always keep an eye out on the domestic welterweight scene. From welterweight to middleweight is some of the best boxing going around. I intend to keep my head down, working hard and continue to defend my belt,”
“There is a possible Commonwealth title fight – maybe against fellow Aussie Cameron Hammond – towards the end of the year. But, I really need to consider what the best route is for me to go down to improve my world rating.”
Having a short-term plan is always a good thing, but Brubaker knows he must perform in Tokyo first.
“I’m just looking forward to getting over there and putting all my hard work into practice,” he exclaimed.
“If I fight like I have been sparring, I will win every round. He hasn’t been stopped before.”
“As tough as the Japanese are, I’m confident in stopping him,”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz