Exclusive: Stephen Bunting talks BDO move and 2016 PDC worlds
Lee Gormley | December 1, 2015
Stephen Bunting speaks to Coral
Rightfully nicknamed The Bullet, former BDO darts world champion Stephen Bunting has enjoyed swift success since his switch to the PDC, and the likeable Liverpudlian exclusively spoke to us at Coral during another hopeful season.
Bunting may have been rampant during his 12 years in the BDO, claiming two World Masters trophies and finally reaching the pinnacle with a sublime World Championship victory, but that laboured talent was evident from the early stages of his career.
Earning an abundance of silverware success at youth level, the now 30-year-old sprung to life winning both the British Teenage Open and World Youth Masters in 2001, also capturing the WDF Europe Youth Cup in 2002.
Early signs of world-class talent
That early promise didn’t fade out when The Bullet turned professional, storming onto the BDO stage at just 18 years of age in 2003, and Bunting holds plenty of ambition now in his career, having sustained his competitiveness for over a decade.
“I would love to become PDC world champion and to win several majors, as well as a lot of floor tournaments,” declared Bunting, whose highlights so far since switching sporting organisations have been reaching the 2014 World Championship quarters and semis at the 2015 Coral UK Open and 2014 World Grand Prix.
“I’d also like to push myself into the top eight of the world rankings as soon as I possibly can.”
It was announced in January 2014 that the highly-driven Merseysider, who colourfully walks-out to ‘Bird is the Word’, in reference to his own admitted likeness to Family Guy cartoon character Peter Griffin, had received and rapidly accepted a tour card to join the PDC, another huge step in his ever-growing darts career.
Sticking to trusted methods
Now competing with the best the sport has to offer, in front of rapturous and passionate fans regularly, Bunting has still stuck to his initial regimes which have done him good so far.
“I haven’t really changed the way I prepare,” he continued. “The move [to the PDC] has been great, playing against the greatest darts players on the planet week in week out has really improved me.
“I love the challenge and hopefully my improvement will see me challenging for titles in the near future.”
Adapting to PDC switch
Victory in the 2014 BDO World Championship was followed-up a year later by his debut in the PDC version of the event. This is regarded as the toughest and most prestigious competition on the darts calendar, with Bunting now constantly rubbing shoulders with world class throwers such as reigning title holder Gary Anderson.
“As I have always said, playing against the best players will bring out the best in me and you have to improve constantly, otherwise you will get left behind.
“The main difference [between BDO and PDC] is you have to average almost 100 every single game, otherwise you will lose, and also you can’t afford to miss any doubles or you will definitely be punished.”
An impressive maiden outing at Alexandra Palace saw Bunting push for a piece of sporting history, but his attempts to become the first player to hold both BDO and PDC world titles simultaneously were ended by an emotional quarter-final defeat to Dutch darting giant Raymond van Barneveld.
World championship round two
After emphatically dispatching Robert Marijanovic, James Wade and Michael Smith, Bunting and 2007 champion Barney were never more than a set apart in their quarter-final encounter, before the latter narrowly ran out victorious.
Adding to the emotion of his first stab the PDC world crown, Bunting was reduced to tears on stage, following high-praise from his veteran conqueror, with Van Barneveld claiming his opponent was truly a world class player.
Bunting’s second World Championship appearance at Alexandra Palace isn’t far off now, as play commences on December 17th, and the self-demanding Bullet is 100/1 to triumph in London this winter, as his talents on the grandest darts stage continue to flourish.
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