Leeds star Josh Warrington takes another step up the boxing ladder when he faces his toughest test to date in Joel Brunker. Sure to be fervently supported by thousands of adoring fans at the First Direct Arena in his hometown of Leeds, Warrington is a strong favourite with the bookmakers to remain unbeaten. But are the bookmakers being influenced by the weight of money from patriotic UK fans, or is he the real deal after all?
Josh Warrington has only catapulted himself into the average boxing fans consciousness in the last year. The former part-time dental assistant had developed a big fan base on the small hall circuit and had his break out fight when beating Rendall Munroe on Sky Sports, showing a relentless work rate against a classy, albeit past his best fighter in the process. Eddie Hearn soon realised Warrington’s commercial value and the Leeds fighter has since gone on to dispatch a further 4 opponents of varying quality, and has been given significant exposure by Sky in the meantime. He has now faces his toughest test to date in Joel Brunker, and is a best priced -345 shot to take the WBC International Featherweight title home.
Joel Brunker is no joke and represents a very tough test. The Australian number one has amassed an impressive record of 28-1, with his solitary loss coming to the very classy Welshman Lee Selby (now the IBF World champion). Brunker faced Selby last October many believed that he came into the fight with a good chance of upsetting the odds. As it happens, Selby put on a masterclass of hit and move boxing, but losing to the now champion is nothing to be ashamed of. Since the Selby loss, Brunker bounced back with a second round knockout of a low level opponent back in Australia. Brunker’s style is an aggressive come forward brawler approach, and although he is not an absolute knock out artist, he does carry plenty of power.
If there is one criticism that has been levelled at Josh Warrington, it is that he doesn’t have much power. In his 21 victories, he has only scored 4 stoppages, although with that being said, all of his finishes have occurred in the space of his last 6 fights. He is a high-energy pressure fighter who only seems to be getting better with every fight. In Brunker though, he meets someone with the same approach and style, and someone who has a resume that is at least as good. To win this fight, Warrington needs to get flurries and combinations off and then use lateral movement to evade Brunker’s rebuttals. The Australian is likely to be unperturbed by Warrington’s power but needs to more than match his work rate in order to secure victory away from home in England.
Ultimately, we make this fight 60/40 in Josh Warrington’s favour. However, the bookmakers seem to have gone in strong on the Leeds fighter, and this has made Joel Brunker huge value at +450 . Those odds give him just an 18.2% chance of success, and at the price, he simply has to be the selection. There is nothing really to separate the fighters on past form, and the hometown advantage just sways it in Warrington’s favour, but betting is a game of value, and Brunker is certainly that.
Brunker to beat Warrington
5th September 22:00 GMT
Odds: NOW +535