BOXING boff Iwan Evans (@IwanEvans19) found a great value bet for Josh Warrington’s bout with Joel Brunker in front of the Sky Sports cameras in September.
Josh Warrington v Joel Brunker | Saturday 22.00 | Sky Sports 1
The new boxing season is set for a raucous start in Leeds, as home favourite Josh Warrington (21-0, 4 KO's) defends his WBC International and Commonwealth Featherweight titles against visiting Australian Joel Brunker (28-1, 16 KO's), live on Sky Sports.
Warrington has brought a real buzz to his home city, which has been starved of boxing success in recent years – sell-out crowds will be arriving at the First Direct Arena for this multiple title fight. His supporters have plenty of critics amongst die-hard fans in regards to their football style support but credit has to go to Josh for making a name for himself and his rise is very similar to that off Ricky Hatton's across the Pennines in Manchester.
The wheels of the “Leeds Warrior” hype machine could start to fall off here however. The 24-year-old faces a genuine step up in class against former Olympian Brunker, who is well known on these shores for his final eliminator with current IBF Featherweight champion, Lee Selby.
Warrington has steadily risen through the ranks, doing it the old fashion way by claiming British, European & Commonwealth titles – those all vacated by the aforementioned world champion Selby.
He's beaten some good names, the first being Hull's Samir Mounemine (TKO 12), who's the only boxer to have got the better of Welshman Selby, and followed that victory up with dominant displays against two experienced former British champions in Rendall Munroe (RTD 7) and Martin Lindsay (UD 12).
His most impressive display came in October last year, as he claimed the European title with a fourth round stoppage of Italian Davide Dieli on a crazy night in the Yorkshire city, which really got the ball rolling.
A victory in Germany on the Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith II undercard followed, but it was his last win, against Filipino Dennis Tubieron, which raised several questions in my book and has made him a potentially vulnerable target to better quality opposition.
Warrington won a wide 12 round decision on the night but he struggled to stop a natural bantamweight, despite landing with several clean shots, and I was worried about his lack of care for defence. It could be argued that Josh knew the visitor wouldn’t hurt him but I never like seeing a fighter making that many defensive mistakes.
It should also be noted that the form has taken a bit of a hit, as Warrington's domestic rival, Harrow Weald's Mitchell Smith, stopped Tubieron in a round with a devastating body shot in late July.
Brunker was stopped in nine rounds when challenging Selby in an IBF title final eliminator at the 02 Arena in Greenwich last October but he shouldn't be too harshly judged on that performance given the Welshman went on to dominate the champion Evgeny Gradovich in May, to become IBF ruler. Selby is an incredibly slick fighter and although he was well on top against Joel, the man from New South Wales did have some success and was simply a level below a world class operator.
This is a far more realistic level for him and it's a case of that old boxing adage coming in to play once again – styles make fights. And while Selby was totally wrong for Joel, Warrington could be right up his street.
Clearly from his record you can tell Brunker can punch and he looked impressive in his return bout in February, stopping a tough Filipino journeyman in a couple of rounds in front of his home fans in Richmond, New South Wales. He's beaten a very similar level of opponent to Josh, if not slightly better, given he's had a couple of fights over in the States, where he also had quality sparring.
In my opinion, Warrington is not the best technical fighter. He's solid but there's considerable work left to be done with him. He's calling for a Selby fight in the next 12 months but that would be too way too early – Lee's a few levels ahead of him already.
This is an acid test and I have significant reservations about him passing it. Brunker, as I've mentioned, competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics where eventual Bronze medallist Aghasi Mammadov who holds a sensational victory in the unpaid ranks over Guillermo Rigondeaux beat him.
This could well be a real war; both are come forward fighters who like to throw plenty of volume but I see all the value in the current price of 4/1 being offered on a victory for the Australian, which is available to back with both William Hill and Bet365. Despite being on the road, I can see Joel winning on points, if not even a late stoppage.
Josh Warrington v Joel Brunker – Joel Brunker to win (4/1 Bet365)
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