With Lucas Browne’s ban from the sport now over, rumours have been circulating who the hard-hitting Australian heavyweight’s next opponent may be.
Browne took to social media earlier this week to share his views and also to ask the fans who they would most like to see him fight next with – Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye, Fres Oquendo, Shannon Briggs and Manuel Charr all being mentioned as being in the mix.
Each option for Browne offers something a little different and it will be interesting to see which route his team take him in, as they search to regain a world title.
Below I examine some of the potential options available to Browne at the moment:
The seasoned Puerto-Rican was set to be Browne’s mandatory defence after de-throning Ruslan Chagaev, a fight that we would have already seen had Browne’s controversial ban not happened.
Prior to recent speculation, it was widely accepted this would be Browne’s return to the ring to fight for the WBA Regular Title once more and surely a chance to reclaim that belt will be a heavy draw for Browne and of possible opponents, the 43 year old may be the quickest route to a title.
We are currently waiting to see what the WBA and IBO choose to do with regards to their current champion, Tyson Fury, with medical certificates being requested last week.
If Fury is stripped then both boards will likely offer Klitschko the first option and with Browne being ranked with the WBA there is a chance Browne may be offered a chance to fight for the WBA Super Title.
If sanctioned, this fight would most likely occur in Germany and following the controversy surrounding Fury’s win (soft ring mats etc.) and Browne’s experience in Chechnya, a fight in hostile territory may not be too high on the agenda.
As soon as Ruslan Chagaev hit the deck in Grozny David Haye was on social media to challenge Browne and the ever-popular Brit would, without doubt, be one of the biggest pay-days on offer to Browne with UK TV money and Haye’s worldwide appeal guaranteed to generate excitement around two of the hardest hitters in the sport going head to head.
Haye took to Facebook to state he is very close to sealing an opponent for December 10th, the same date a potential Joshua Klitschko fight has been pencilled in for if you believe some reports coming out today.
If both these fights were to happen then the fans in the UK will be in for a stellar night of heavyweight boxing.
Without doubt one of the most entertaining guys in the division.
Whether or not he still has the ability to legitimately challenge for a World Title remains to be seen but after years of campaigning and self-promoting he is now being mentioned in these conversations.
A previously agreed fight with David Haye seems to have fallen through so Briggs would undoubtedly want the fight if it were to be offered to him and it would be an easy fight to sell in the UK, US or Australia.
With Briggs ranked 8th by the WBA he remains an option.
Perhaps the least well-known fighter of the options available to Browne, Manuel Charr has recently moved above Shannon Briggs to 7th in the WBA’s rankings with recent wins in Germany over Sefer Seferi and Andrei Mazanik.
Charr will be no stranger to Australian fans having beaten Alex Leapai by UD back in early 2015.
Charr has suffered losses whenever stepping up to World level though with losses against Johan Duhaupus, Alexander Povetkin and Vitali Klitschko on his record.
This may be a fight that the WBA would sanction but there is likely to be little commercial interest in comparison to the fights mentioned above.
In recent days Browne and Whyte have traded some verbal jousts over social media. Both men carry explosive power and while it lasts, this would likely be a war between two very proud men with cannons in both arms.
However Whyte is scheduled to fight on the Ricky Burns undercard this week with a view to taking on Dereck Chisora in what will be a huge domestic dust-up, so it seems unlikely to happen in 2016.
It will be surprising if these two do not clash in 2017 mind you.
After winning the WBC belt in early 2015, Wilder has repeatedly stated he wants to become the most dominant champion in the sport and would seek to unify the division.
Since then, he has fought Eric Molina, Johan Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola (none were champions) in a series of non-events.
In similar fashion to Danny Garcia at welterweight, the WBC seemingly have no issue with their champion cherry-picking opponents as long as they bring in the dollars in sanctioning fees and with his huge appeal in the US, Wilder is certainly bringing in their dollars.
The American Heavyweight is currently returning from injury so a fight in December/January seems unlikely and, given his recent form, one would expect him to take a ‘tune-up’ fight before stepping in with any other champions.
The Kiwi sensation is set up to fight for a World Title in his next fight.
This looked likely to be a showdown with Anthony Joshua for the IBF Title until the recent Tyson Fury debacle put the WBO belt back on the table with Parker offered a fight with Andy Ruiz for the now vacant title.
Another one for 2017 perhaps, but with the opportunity for a Trans-Tasman Heavyweight Title unification fight in the offing, best believe both Parker and Browne will have one eye on this as a future showdown.
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