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BDO world champion Bunting makes PDC switch

ESPN staff
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Stephen Bunting always wanted to win the BDO world title before switching codes © PA Photos
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BDO world champion Steve Bunting admitted it was an "absolutely massive decision" to switch codes and join the PDC, but has revealed to pdc.tv that he has an ambition to play in the Premier League.

Earlier in January, Bunting beat Alan Norris 7-4 in the final at Lakeside to earn a maiden world title. Previously, he had always stood by his intention of not switching codes until he had won a BDO world crown.

However, Bunting has now accepted the offer to join the PDC Tour and stated he was looking forward to a fresh challenge - as well as taking on the likes of Phil Taylor and current PDC world champion Michael van Gerwen.

Brilliant Bunting on the rise

  • Like Tony O'Shea, Bunting has always stuck by his ambition to win the BDO world crown before switching sides. While bad blood will remain between the two codes, Bunting's rise and move was inevitable.
  • From the St Helens darting hotbed - which has seen the likes of Michael Smith and new Premier League ace Dave Chisnall enjoy successful moves - Bunting now has a chance to establish himself on the lucrative world Tour.
  • It won't be as easy as it appears, though. Ted Hankey, a double BDO world champion, recently switched back after two barren years on the PDC Tour. Bunting has long been a special talent in the BDO and possesses both the explosive scoring and consistency needed to realise his Premier League dream.
  • Rob Bartlett, ESPN Assistant Editor

"Phil Taylor's been a fantastic ambassador for the sport for a lot of years and Michael van Gerwen's up there with him now, and I wanted a piece of that pie to be honest," Bunting told pdc.tv. "I know I'm good enough to compete with the likes of them, so I'm relishing the chance to take them on.

"It would be nice to qualify for all the TV events and then hopefully in the next few years I can break into the Premier League too. That's a big ambition. The thing that appeals to me more than anything about the Premier League is that there's a venue in Liverpool, and to play in front of my home crowd in the next few years would be absolutely amazing."

The four players who reach the semi-finals of the BDO code's major event are offered a PDC Tour card, and while 'The Bullet' maintained he would always have strong feelings for the BDO, he felt it was the right decision to move on.

"I've been tearing my hair out for the last two weeks and my decision was only made last night, which shows how tough it was," Bunting said. "I've always looked at the PDC and seen the money involved, and my family were a big influence in my decision. My son Toby was cheering, so it shows that the family are excited.

"I've loved my time in the BDO. I've won everything I can in the BDO now and was just looking for a new challenge. The Lakeside's a trophy that I've been chasing for so many years now.

"People used to ask me when I would be joining the PDC circuit, but I always said that I wanted to win Lakeside first, and now I've done it I think the time is right to make the switch over. If I was going to join the PDC, the best time to do it was as World Champion."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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