This time in two weeks, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne will attempt to become Australia’s first ever World Heavyweight Champion when he squares off with ‘The White Tyson’ Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Chechnya.
Grozny is not by any stretch a landmark on the boxing map and perhaps better known Worldwide for being the battle ground for Chechen-Russian wars throughout the 21st century – in fact the UN described it in 2002 as ‘The most destroyed city on Earth’! Since then though Grozny has slowly rebuilt as Chechnya’s capital and has played host to a number of sporting events including the night Chagaev won the vacant WBA ‘regular’ Title against Fres Oquendo in July 2014.
The task ahead of Browne is no small one, Chagaev’s only two losses have come against Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, two of the best in the division at present and there can be no doubt that he certainly has the upper-hand when it comes to experience at the World level.
That being said, Chagaev’s recent performances have indicated a fighter potentially on the decline with his power not looking quite as destructive as it once did, coupled with extensive inactivity (Chagaev has fought only twice in two years).
Speaking with Kali Meehan this morning, one of Australia’s greatest ever heavyweights – who fought Chagaeve himself, he had this to say:
“He has the size and the strength to beat Chagaev but I feel he can’t let Chagaev dictate the pace or tempo. If he can start early with a fast pace and try and land some of those big right hands, there is no reason he can’t upset the ageing ex-Champ. I fought Chagaev in 2010 and to be honest I didn’t rate his power that much, not for a heavyweight at that level.”
So Meehan gives Browne a good chance at taking the Belt home on March 5th and having fought for World Title multiple times himself against the likes of Hasim Rahman, he will know just how tough the challenge ahead for the 114kg heavy-hitting Aussie in Grozny.
Many who are new to the Lucas Browne bandwagon and have only seen recent his recent fight with American, Julius Long should be prepared for a very different fighter in the ring on March 5th – on top of being a terrible opponent choice, Browne was under the tutelage of Australian legend Jeff Fenech at the time, a relationship that did not quite hit the starry heights many had predicted and brought around a change of styles that seemed to stifle the big man.
Now, under Head Coach Rodney Williams we have seen the fluency and movement, so unusual for a man of his size, return to Browne’s game which has, in turn, brought a return of his devastating power that has seen him rack up 20 KOs in his 23 fights to date.
Speaking at the Media Day for this fight, Main Event host Ben Damon picked up on this very fact after watching the open sparring:
“He looks a cut-down version of himself……I was worried that might mean he lost some of his power but if anything he’s picked up excess power as a result and he’s moving his feet much better which has always been my criticism of him.”
Expect to see a fully revitalized and hungry Lucas Browne March 5th, this fight has been in the making for a long time due to contractual obligations and legal issues on Chagaev’s end but it is finally upon us and in a couple of weeks we will hopefully see the fruits of Browne and head coach Rodney William’s hard work.
Browne himself said during the week:
“I’m sitting at 114 kilos so I’m very happy at that weight and mobility and everything else. I think I’ve gone back to what I used to be both physically and mentally so I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s gone.”
The winner of Browne v Chagaev will then be mandated to face Fres Oquendo as part of the WBA’s elimination tournament. On the other side of the tie, the winner of Fury v Klitschko will face the winner of Luis Ortiz v Alexander Ustinov.
Once these fights have been decided only 2 men will remain and battle it out to be the one true WBA Champion of the Heavyweight Division. 2016 could be a very big year for Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne and for Australian Boxing – make sure to tune in to Main Event on March 5th to catch all the action.
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