FOR the best part of twelve months, the camps of world rated featherweights and former Olympians Luke Jackson and Joel Brunker have been in negotiations for a fight.
In fourteen fights, Jackson (14-0, 6 KOs) has captured national and regional title honours, while establishing himself as a legitimate contender for the WBO featherweight title, presently held by undefeated Mexican Oscar Valdez. The Tasmanian has built a credible following out of his hometown in Hobart, and has plans to fund an eventual title tilt with the help of the Tasmanian Government.
On the other hand, Brunker (31-2, 18 KOs) has had a more methodical approach to his career, having signed with multiple promoters and taken part of several big fights abroad. The no-nonsense approach of the 31-year-old has led to challenges against Josh Warrington for the Commonwealth featherweight title, and a world title eliminator against current titleholder Lee Selby.
Brunker has previously been in negotiations for world title opportunities against Chris John and Billy Dib during their title reigns, and should consider himself unlucky to not have fought for a world title.
The beauty of this matchup is that it should have already taken place. The respectful teams of both Jackson and Brunker agreed to contest a salivating domestic collision in Tasmania in March, only for Brunker’s team to opt for a tune-up bout against Jason Butar Butar in Melbourne instead.
With both holding top ten world ratings – Brunker at number eight with the WBA and Jackson at number ten with the WBO – it appears that the stakes are high enough to make this fight a reasonable option. Understandably, both Jackson and Brunker want to be fairly compensated for their efforts, and they should be providing a date and purse can be mutually agreed to.
What the experts say (Ben Damon):
“These are two of the good guys of the sport in this country, and there has been ample discussion about this bout being made for well over a year.”
“Joel Brunker has a vast edge in experience and has travelled internationally for major bouts, but the undefeated Luke Jackson is on the cusp of a world title shot, with some talk of bringing such an event to his native Tasmania.”
“Both fighters would be confident of victory but negotiations will likely come down to a risk/reward equation for Jackson who could be on the verge of something special.”