RICHMOND boxing star Joel Brunker said his win against Ivan Hernandez last Wednesday night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre was another giant step forward in his world title quest.
Brunker won the fight, which was on the Daniel Geale-Anthony Mundine undercard, by unanimous points decision (80-72, 79-73, 78-75) against former super flyweight Hernandez in a solid performance.
Brunker said despite not knocking his opponent out, the experience was valuable considering he won by first-round knockout in his last bout.
“It was a tough fight and I suppose it was good to go eight rounds for my experience. I wanted to knock him out. I wanted to get rid of him, but that’s just the way it went,” Brunker said.
“I felt comfortable and relaxed. I just didn’t want to lose my cool and make a mistake because with someone like him, with all that experience, he could knock me out so I thought I’d better be safe.
“He couldn’t handle my strength. Once I hit him a few times I knew he wouldn’t want to come forward and force the issue. It happens with most of my opponents. Most of the time they don’t want to come forward.”
Brunker, who extended his record to 25-0, said he was close to finishing Hernandez off a number of times.
“I was waiting for the knockout and I thought it was just around the corner, for the whole fight. I thought if I was patient it would come, but the smart Mexican just held me out,” Brunker said.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Hawkesbury pug.
A cut over his right eye, after a head clash, made it difficult for him to land the decisive blow, but also proved to be a valuable experience that he will almost certainly have to deal with if he wants that world title.
“When I first got the cut it was fine for a round after it, but during the last couple my vision was getting a bit blurry,” he said.
“You’ve got to learn how to cope with it because a world title fight is 12 rounds and you’re getting in there with someone you’re going to go to war with and someone’s going to get a cut.
“You have to push through the rounds with blood in your eyes. It’s not that it hurts, but you can’t see and you miss shots.”
Such was Brunker’s focus before the fight that he didn’t even notice the sold out Entertainment Centre crowd of more than 10,000.
Brunker plans to have three more fights in 2013 and if he gets through them unscathed he’ll almost certainly be fighting for a world title.
“After three more fights, I’ll definitely be ready for that [world title] fight, as long as I get a few hard ones in where I can be tested in those deep waters,” Brunker said.
The continuous Hawkesbury support has played a beneficial role according to the world-ranked boxer.
“My phone has been going off, and it’s good that all these people come out and support me. You can’t ask for any more than that and it makes it easier to do your job,” Brunker said. “It gives you an extra leg. You’re in there on your own but you know there’s all these people out the supporting you.”