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Australian featherweight champion Aussie Joel Brunker
likes his training tough. The tougher the better. Now one of the few
professional fighters good enough to live off boxing, Joel loves the gruelling
sessions his trainer puts him through at Richmond Boxing Club.
“Anything you can do to make it harder for me, the better,” he says.
As an amateur Joel had 96 wins from 121 fights and an Olympic bid at the 2004 games even before he turned 20. As a professional he is undefeated with a record of 14 (8)-0–0
Now 24 he has a carefully planned strategy for achieving a WBC youth world title – available to under 25-year olds – in September this year.
“The main thing I’ve got to do is keep winning,” he says simply.
Trainer John Barber has been with him since the beginning and Joel credits him, and his manager Angelo Di Carlo, for always looking out for his best interests and taking him to where he is today.
Watching some of the greats like Sugar Ray Lenard and Thomas Hearns on old videos borrowed from the corner store inspired Joel to get into the sport when he was 14. He is positive it kept him out of the kind of trouble that a lot of teenage boys can get into.
“The main thing its taught me is better life skills. It makes me a better person.”
A fierce fighter, his style of boxing is better suited to the professional circuit than the amateurs.
“You’re not actually out there to hurt people [in the amateurs]. I was always a brutal fighter,” he says.
After being able to step back from his trade as a bricklayer a few years ago, Joel’s days now start at 6am with 10 kilometre runs and sprints, followed by strength training at the gym. He returns for sparring and boxing at 3pm six days a week and admits to being in “pretty good shape”.
His next fight will be in his hometown Richmond and a rematch against Ernie Gonzales jnr. As Australian title holder Joel and his camp have put the call-out to almost everybody in his weight division in the country but Ernie is one of the few that have taken up the challenge. They had hoped for a match with Clint Hosking from Perth but he wouldn’t take them up.
After being slightly struck by nerves in his last fighter with Ernie, but still emerging victorious, Joel hopes the experience he’s had since will lead to a much cooler approach on the night.
Joel Brunker fights Ernie Gonzales Jnr at Richmond RSL on June 18th.
by Penny Pryor
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