By Anthony Cocks
Cronulla welterweight ‘Gelignite’ Jack Brubaker “has the skills to make it all the way to world champ,” according to Anthony Mundine. And the former WBA super middleweight champion isn’t the only one to think that.
Last year international management firm MTK Global climbed aboard the Brubaker train, a signing brokered by Mike Altamura who said at the time: “Jack brings a very fan-friendly and exciting brand of boxing to the ring and as for his nickname ‘Gelignite’ – he packs some dynamite in those hands.”
A rangy boxer-puncher with an aggressive style, the 27-year-old Brubaker is set to challenge world-rated WBA Oceania 147-pound champion Cameron Hammond 18-1 (9) over 10-rounds on the undercard of Joel Camilleri’s Australian junior middleweight title defence against Tim Tszyu at Sydney’s Star Casino on May 15.
Let’s go 15 rounds with ‘Gelignite’ Jack. Ring that bell...
1. What attracted you to boxing in the first place?
BRUBAKER: After finishing school I started a plumbing apprenticeship which meant I had to give up playing rugby league (which I played from the age of three). So, my love for sports and my natural athleticism was the initial attraction to boxing. But a contributing factor was being cornered by a couple thugs one afternoon in Caringbah and I was unable to defend myself where I was put in a position I never wanted to be in again.
2. Toughest fight in the amateurs or pros?
BRUBAKER: I’ve been in a few tough fights to date but I would have to say going 12 rounds with Suyon Takayama in Tokyo, Japan would have to be the toughest. The combination of the heat in the arena, exhaustion from a rookie weight cut and just going 12 rounds with a great fighter in his home town.
3. Biggest puncher you’ve faced?
BRUBAKER: Easily Larry Siwu at the end of last year. I didn’t have the best camp leading into that fight but I remember exchanging jabs in the first seconds of the bout and thinking WOW.
4. What are the best and worst thing about being a boxer?
BRUBAKER: The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
5. What is your most defining win of your career?
BRUBAKER: When I dropped Xingxin Yang twice in the first round then went on to KO him in the fourth round of the co-main to Danny Green in front of 11,000 people at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne on Main Event on Foxtel. I love the big stage!
6. What are your goals for the next 12 months?
BRUBAKER: Train all year round rather than only when I have a fight signed and be more active then I have been in recent years now that I have signed with MTK Global.
7. What are some your hobbies away from the ring?
BRUBAKER: Horse riding, ‘giddy up’. Motorbike riding and spending time at the beach. And GOLF.
8. Who is always ringside for you fights?
BRUBAKER: I have amazing support base and supporters who are always at my fights; my beautiful girlfriend Zoe, my family never miss a fight, Dean Honan, Jesse Lombardo, Togs, COOK’S plumbing team, my trainer Graham Shaw and cutman Brian Wilmont.
9. Who has been biggest influence on your career?
BRUBAKER: Early in my career it was Arturo Gatti. I loved watching his fights and the heart he showed in the ring, although as I get older and wiser it has changed to Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith, I love watching them fight.
10. What fight have you learnt the most from?
BRUBAKER: My Commonwealth title fight against Kris George was the fight I learnt most from. I am and always have been an aggressive fighter but I learnt the necessity of controlled, smart aggression in that fight.
11. What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
BRUBAKER: I’m a cowboy.
12. Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow in the lead-up to fight night?
BRUBAKER: I have to wear the same undies I wear to the weigh in and on fight night in the ring!
13. What is your favourite post-fight feed?
BRUBAKER: A big brekky. Bacon, sausages, hash browns, eggs, chorizo, mushrooms, white bread hidden underneath butter.
14. Why would we find you when you’re away from the gym?
BRUBAKER: The beach in summer, on my family’s property down at Darkes Forest riding horses or on the golf course.
15. If you weren’t boxing, what would you be doing?
BRUBAKER: Working for my parents earthmoving business, SJREAD.