EVERYTHING about Jack Brubaker exudes confidence.
From his overwhelmingly brash fight kit, to the assortment of tattoos across his chest, Brubaker (13-1-1, 7 KOs) has the look of a fighter that could potentially cross over. However, for all the talk and bravado, there has to be an undeniable ability to shine on the big stage.
On Sunday afternoon at the Star Casino in Sydney, we’ll find out just how good Brubaker can be when he challenges long-time rival Kris George (12-1, 6 KOs) for his Commonwealth welterweight crown as part of the stacked inaugural Johnny Lewis Ultimate Fight Night.
“The Commonwealth title is a prestigious belt,” said Brubaker in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “A lot of fighters have held the belt on the way to becoming a world champion. I plan on being the next one.”
“It’s a great opportunity to be fighting for the belt. I believe Kris is a great domestic fighter – he is a tough Queenslander – but I just feel that after my four weeks over in Las Vegas during my training camp over there, that I’m just at the next level up. I feel like I’m an international fighter.”
Brubaker, 25, had a breakout year in 2016, scoring career-best wins over Paddy Murphy and Suyon Takayama, with the latter coming in hostile territory within the universally recognised walls of the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. In his eyes, it was the Takayama fight, where Brubaker had to climb off the canvas, that gives him both the confidence and experience to topple George.
It goes without saying that the 28-year-old George is the biggest test of Brubaker’s five year professional career, as recent wins over Bowyn Morgan and Cameron Hammond have verified. But to Brubaker, there is a bigger picture outside of Kris George, being WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, who he sees as a winnable fight.
“I’ve fought over in Tokyo and won internationally, Kris hasn’t really fought outside of Toowoomba,” he boldly declared. “I like the big shows, I’ve fought on the Danny Green undercard in front of a live audience of over 11,000 people. I feel like I’m at my best when I have the challenge ahead.”
“Kris has definitely given me the motivation to work my arse off and train as hard as I have ever trained before. He is a tough walk forward, busy fighter – I just feel like I’m the next level up – I just want the end goal. I want to fight Jeff Horn, I believe I can beat him.”
“I was very impressed with his fight against pound-for-pound boxing royalty Manny Pacquiao,” continued Brubaker. “But I just feel Pacquaio was at the end of his era and he was the smaller fighter. I feel I’m just as big, if not bigger, than Jeff Horn. I’m a natural welterweight and I’m coming into the prime of my career.”
“Beating Kris George will just put out a statement on that fight, I will be the number one contender to him (Horn) in Australia. No doubt he will be chasing the big fights worldwide. But he will always know I will be knocking on his door. Who knows? In another couple of years I might have a world title of my own and we might be able to make a unification world title fight right here in Australia.”
Every fighter appears to have taken their own piece of motivation from Jeff Horn’s historic title win in July. Some see it as living proof that with the right, guidance and backing, a common goal can be achieved. And for others, it’s just further proof of how strong Australian boxing currently is.
Which lies the question, what is Brubaker’s stance on this? Well, he’s somewhere in the middle.
“The fight between Horn and Pacquiao was just a great spectacle for Australian boxing,” he concluded. “It also proved that anything is possible – I feel that if you back yourself – then you want the tough fights, it’s a win-win situation. If you have the fights against the lesser ranked opponents its really a lose-lose. You beat them and it was an easy win.”
“I feel I can take on the best in the world, and no doubt with Kris taking on this fight, he knows that he can take on the best in the world too.”
“So hats off to Kris, as he’s just as confident as I am.”
For more information about the Johnny Lewis Ultimate Fight Night, please see here