CIRCUMSTANCES have made a fight between Kris George and Jack Brubaker a can’t-miss option to decipher who is the second best welterweight in the country.
Having captured the WBO welterweight championship in glorious fashion by dethroning legendary eight-division titleholder Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Horn has understandably cemented his place as not only the best welterweight in Australia, but one of the best in the world as well.
This leaves George (12-1, 6 KOs) and Brubaker (13-1-1, 7 KOs) as the remaining torchbearers domestically in an otherwise stale division.
George, 27, has made a dramatic and unexpected surge towards the peak of the welterweight division. After going relatively unnoticed in his first three years as a professional, the Toowoomba resident had a breakout twelve months in 2016, despite only competing two times.
The hard-hitting Queenslander raised eyebrows with a come-from-behind stoppage over previously unbeaten Kiwi Bowyn Morgan on the Joseph Parker vs. Solomon Haumono undercard in July, before causing a major stir by upsetting former Olympian Cameron Hammond to lift the prestigious Commonwealth welterweight title last November in front of an adoring home crowd.
Remarkably, George wasn’t even supposed to challenge for the Commonwealth title, as that opportunity was initially afforded to Brubaker, 25, who was fresh off winning the OPBF welterweight crown in Japan with an impressive win over Japanese veteran Suyon Takayama in Tokyo.
As fate would have it, Brubaker’s opportunity was derailed by a hand injury and George capitalised on an unlikely title opportunity.
In this industry, things have a way of coming full circle – and after George’s first title defence against undefeated Nigerian Larry Ekundayo was surprisingly cancelled by English promoter Frank Warren – Brubaker may now find himself earning a second chance at Commonwealth title honours.
What the experts say (Ben Damon):
“Jeff Horn is the king of the welterweight division in Australia, but a Commonwealth title bout between these two slick young Aussies is an enticing prospect. Kris George dropped and beat Cameron Hammond in one of the key upsets of 2016.”
“Whilst an international defence of his title fell through he could now be set for a huge challenge at home against the popular and impressive Jack Brubaker. Under the tutelage of master trainer Graham Shaw Brubaker has developed into a world class boxer, and a Commonwealth title bout would be the ideal next step on his global ascent.”