Hatton's Craig Bunn back in February
Former amateur star Craig Bunn to make ring return
By Michael J Jones
MANCHESTER’S Craig Bunn makes his ring return on the February 4 Bolton bill headed by the British super-bantamweight clash between Scott Quigg and Jamie Arthur. The former amateur stand-out has been kept out of the ring after serving a four-year prison stint for assault. The talented stylist was involved in an ugly confrontation with a neighbour which unfortunately turned violent.
Craig, 25-years-old, had five fights between December 2005 and December 06, drawing one and winning the rest on points. He is eager to make up for lost time and finally fulfil his considerable potential.
The Manchester stylist has signed with Hatton promotions and is raring to get back into the ring. In the unpaid code, Bunn won the junior ABA’s and tangled with the likes of Tom Doran (now an unbeaten pro) and reigning British champion Brian Rose.
After competing around light-middleweight previously (as both amateur and pro), come-backing Bunn intends to fight three divisions higher at light-heavyweight. Although Craig has never fought at the higher weight he insists it won’t be a problem, revealing to Livefight he sparred none-other-than Tony Bellew shortly after being released from jail late last year.
“I expected to be rusty when I first sparred, but I did well against Bellew” revealed Craig. “I thought it was even, I felt sharp in there. Many onlookers said afterwards I’d gotten the better of Tony.”
More recently, Craig has sparred with undefeated cruiserweight contender Matty Askin and commonwealth light-middleweight champion Jamie Cox. The Joe Pennington-trained Bunn admits he has done wrong in the past but is keen to move on from the bad times. “I never gave boxing my full attention. When I first turned pro I was messing around, hanging out with the wrong people and not training properly” says Craig with regret. “That assault charge has haunted me but I served my time and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s gone now. I’ve settled right down, I have my girlfriend and just a couple of close mates. I don’t go out or do anything silly, all I do is train and stay at home” says Craig firmly.
As Craig bids to win his sixth pro fight, he is confident that he will soon be in the mix with the best light-heavyweights in the UK. “You’ve got Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew obviously, but I’m honestly not worried about fighting any of the British top ten. Let me get some of the ring rust off and I’ll be ready, I’ll fight any of them” states Craig with supreme confidence.
I ask the 6’1” Bunn whether he feels mentally stronger than his previous venture into the pro ranks five years ago, “oh definitely, 100%. Physically, I feel I’m still quick and accurate, but mentally I’m so much more grown-up and focused than before. I messed up the first time but I’m hungrier this time, so much hungrier. I want it badly, I want to succeed. There’ll be none of this easing off for journeymen or anything; every fight I’m coming fully fit and focused” promises the fired-up 25-year-old.
It is hard to say whether Craig, who is yet to score a pro stoppage, will punch his weight in the higher division. The first fight is set to take place at 12st 9lbs, with subsequent bouts on the light-heavyweight limit of 175 lbs. Craig likens his style to Nottingham star Carl Froch in that he likes to draw a lead and counter-punch, though enjoys going to war also. “I’m a boxer who likes to make an opponent miss, but I also like to work on the inside, have a tear-up” insisted Craig, who was a veteran of over 60 amateur fights.
An opponent has yet to be named for Bunn for the Bolton show but the rededicated prospect is chomping at the bit to show what he can do. We at Livefight wish Craig well for next year and look forward to checking his progress in the coming months.