By Derek Bonnett: My wife and I made the trip to Verona, NY on October 27, 2012 to cover HBO’s Boxing After Dark card for SecondsOut. On the way up, I talked about Thomas Dulorme and Miguel Vazquez, whom I went up there to see specifically. I left the casino talking about only one fighter that night though and that was unbeaten Australian featherweight Joel Brunker.
Brunker was an added bonus to the card as he made his USA debut. I had read a few fight reports on the former 2004 Olympian, but I had yet to see him fight live or hear something to compel me to do more than watch a few brief YouTube clips. I had been missing out. Upon reviewing my wife’s camera shots for the night, I scrolled wildly, asking where are they, where are they. Unfortunately, there were no photos of Brunker’s impressive first win on American soil. I asked my wife, why? She did not have enough time, was her reply.
Brunker, 24-0 (14), stopped Carlos Fulgencio with as good of a body shot as I had seen in 2012 just 1:40 in the first round. My wife had taken out her battery to re-charge it and swap in another. By the time that process was completed, Fulgencio was already counted out. A few days later, I reached out to contact Brunker about the performance and asked him about setting up some time for an interview once he had scheduled his next bout. Underneath the Anthony Mundine-Daniel Geale rematch, Brunker will meet veteran Ivan Hernandez back on his home turf. In just a minute and forty seconds, the twenty-sox year old contender left quite the impression on this writer and the HBO audience in Verona, NY. I personally welcome him back to the United States to ply his trade any time.
Below is was transpired from SecondsOut’s interview of unbeaten featherweight Joel Brunker.
Derek Bonnett: Many American fans were introduced to you in your last bout in Verona, NY. How did you feel about your American debut and did your team make any connections with HBO or promotional companies to try and bring you back to the states?
Joel Brunker: My American debut couldn’t have went better for me. A first round KO: you can’t beat that. We have a connection in America that is Gary Shaw. He is co-promoter of the card I’m on fighting on this month and, once that goes well, hopefully, I will be straight back to states.
DB: Veteran Ivan Hernandez will be traveling to your homeland for your next bout. What are you hoping to accomplish in that fight and what experience do you expect the Mexican to provide you with as you develop into a top featherweight?
JB: Experience is what I will gain from Ivan. He has fought a lot of great fighters and that experience is what will help me become a top line fighter.
DB: Describe the support you receive from your Aussie fans. Australia loves its boxing, but how does it regard one of its former Olympians and professional hopefuls?
JB: I am supported greatly by my fellow Australians. There are always doubters, but I think that comes with every sport.
DB: Presently, you reside in a division stacked with talent, including one of your countrymen Billy Dib. How do you plan to separate yourself from the rest of the pack to put yourself in line for a title shot?
JB: By giving people all action fights like they want to see; putting it all on the line every fight. That’s all I can promise.
DB: In boxing, styles make fights and personalities sell tickets. Do you see your style as crowd-pleasing and who you say you are more humble as a fighter or on the brash side?