By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte knocked out Lucas Browne in devastating, frightening fashion Saturday night.
Whyte got great leverage on a crushing left hook that knocked Browne unconscious early in the sixth round Saturday night at O2 Arena in London. That pulverizing punch twisted Browne around and left the huge heavyweight face-first on the canvas with 2:32 to go in the sixth round.
Referee Ian John-Lewis turned his back to send Whyte to a neutral corner. Once John-Lewis turned back around and realized Browne was unconscious, he immediately stopped their scheduled 12-round fight.
“Hopefully, Lucas Browne is OK,” Whyte said during his post-fight interview with Sky Sports. “You know, he showed up for the fight and he tried, but I knew this was gonna happen.”
The Jamaican-born, London-based Whyte was dominating a battered, bloodied Browne before knocking him out.
The 29-year-old Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs), the WBC’s No. 1 heavyweight contender, extended his winning streak to seven since Anthony Joshua stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their December 2015 fight at O2 Arena. Australia’s Browne, 38, lost for the first time as a pro (25-1, 22 KOs).
“I proved to everyone I’m world class,” Whyte said. “You know, a lot of people were writing me off, a lot of people were giving Lucas Browne the edge. We kept quiet, we worked hard.
“I need the challenge. When the challenge is there, that’s when I rise. As you guys see, every time I’m in a hard fight, I rose to the challenge. You know, Lucas Browne fought with power. It was incredible. I showed him, listen, I might not have 22 knockouts, but I can crack.”
The round before Whyte ended their fight, Whyte blasted Browne with a straight right hand with 13 seconds left in the fifth round, which backed up Browne. Whyte battered Browne throughout the first half of the fifth round by landing an array of overhand rights, left hooks and lefts to the body.
Well aware that he was behind, Browne began pressuring Whyte more in the fourth round. Unable to hit Whyte with anything big, Browne switched to a southpaw stance in the fourth as well, yet didn’t remain in it long.
Whyte drilled Browne with an overhand right at about the 2:20 mark of the third round. Whyte continued attacking Browne’s body later in the third, but Browne hit him with a right hand that drew blood from Whyte’s nose.
With just under 50 seconds remaining in the second round, Whyte landed an overhand right that made Browne shake his head, as if he knew he shouldn’t have been hit with that shot. Whyte drilled Browne with a left-right combination to the body with around two minutes to go in the second round.
Whyte and Browne spent most of the first round feeling each other out. With 17 seconds to go in it, though, Whyte was able to connect with an overhand right that opened a cut over Browne’s left eye.
Five rounds later, Whyte produced a highlight-reel knockout that could lead to a shot at WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).
The WBC hasn’t named Whyte as Wilder’s mandatory challenger, but he hopes that happens soon. The WBC also could order an elimination bout between Whyte and second-ranked American Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) to determine Wilder’s mandatory challenger.
Whyte was asked during his post-fight interview if he is capable of winning a heavyweight title.
“I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe that, you know,” Whyte said. “And I proved it. I beat a former world champion. I just knocked out a former world champion in five, six rounds tonight. So that should tell you where I’m at, you know?”
Browne briefly held a version of the WBA’s heavyweight title after stopping Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th round of their March 2016 bout. The WBA stripped Browne of that championship once he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.