Opinion | Oct 15 2014

As Australian Joel Brunker proved, unbeaten records are not always what they seem

Daniel Herbert examines the case of unbeaten Aussies and discovers the clues were already there that Brunker was no Jeff Fenech

THE misleading nature of boxers’ record was once again underlined at the weekend as Lee Selby stopped Joel Brunker on Eddie Hearn’s promotion at the O2 in London. Australia’s Brunker came in with a shiny 27-0 ledger but didn’t perform at anywhere near the exalted level suggested by those stats as Selby finished him off in the ninth round.

The result wasn’t entirely unexpected, because a close examination of Brunker’s record revealed that he not fought anyone in world class; mostly Aussies, Thais and Filipinos of modest achievement. Still, you never know – boxers can rise to the occasion and fight far better than expected. Brunker was not one of those, and it was a smart match for Hearn and Selby’s handlers to make.

Perhaps the tip-off that Brunker was no great shakes came in the way his people had let him fight outside his homeland just twice, both in the USA: against the moderate Carlos Fulgencio (w ko 1) in 2012 and against decent but light-hitting Mike Oliver (w pts 8) last year. That Joel had not boxed since the Oliver outing 14 months ago suggests he was “sitting on” his high world rating with the IBF, who recognised the Selby match as an eliminator for its belt.


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