LUCAS "BIG DADDY" BROWNE came through his toughest test to date and remained on course for a world title shot with hard fought unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko in Wolverhampton, England on Friday night (August 1).
Both men made their intentions clear from the start and landed with solid shots. Browne, bleeding close to both eyes from a number of head clashes, took control of things from the fifth round and never looked like losing the fight.
That said, Rudenko was extremely tough and continued to give his all until the final bell. On several occasions, Browne rocked the Ukrainian's head back with heavy shots from both hands, but Rudenko gritted his teeth and never stopped trying.
The judges scores were 116-112, 117-112 and 115-113.
Victory ensured that Browne retained his WBC EPBC title and grasped the vacant WBA Inter-Continental crown. It should also improve his world rankings and put him closer to the likes of Ruslan Chagaev and Bermane Stiverne.
"He was a very tough opponent," Lucas, now 21-0 (18 KOs), said. "I threw everything at him and I was surprised how he managed to stand up to some of them.
"A lot of my shots landed flush and he managed to take them. He's got a head like a brick and I can I see why he was unbeaten before.
"I don't like going the full 12 rounds, but in some ways it was a blessing in disguise because at least I now know how to fight my way through a war like that. It was a good learning experience."
Ricky Hatton, Browne's promoter, had a few hard battles himself in the ring and believes this fight will stand Lucas in good stead for a world title fight in the next 12 months.
"I don't think the decision was ever in doubt. Rudenko was very tough, like they are from that part of the world, but Lucas showed a few new things and boxed very well over all," he said.
"It was one of those fights boxers need to go through if they're going to win a world title. Lucas has gone the distance with James Toney, but he was in his comfort zone. This was a fight that gave him a real test.
"We'll see what this does for Lucas's ranking and if we can we'll look to make a fight with Chagaev. If not there's some good fights for him in Australia against the likes of Leapai. Regardless, Lucas is very close to a world title now."