Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne’s bid to rebuild his boxing career began in the humble surrounds of an outer-suburban social club as he clings to dreams of again becoming world heavyweight champion.
Browne, 38, became the first Australian to claim a share of a heavyweight world title when he stopped Ruslan Chagaev to win the WBA regular belt in front of a hostile crowd in Chechnya last year.
More than 14 months — and two positive drug tests — later, he finally stepped back into the ring and the circumstances and occasion couldn’t be further from that history-making night.
Browne improved his record to 25-0 with a dominant 2nd round TKO win over Matthew Greer — an American journeyman with an unflattering 14-21 win-loss record — at Club Punchbowl in Sydney’s south-west.
There was on the line but Browne, who maintains he’s not a “drug cheat”, said before the fight he had to start somewhere.
“I’ve got no rankings whatsoever ... so technically I’ve got to start from scratch,” Browne told iFL TV.
“People are wondering why I’m fighting Matthew Greer, who’s 16 wins 20 losses but it’s a warm-up fight against a journeyman for the purpose of getting back into the ring. That’s the whole purpose. There’s no point going in against a world class challenger just yet. That’ll be next, or very soon.”
Browne was stripped of the world title and suspended for six months after later testing positive to the banned substance clenbuterol. He claimed he was set up and the WBA later ruled it was unlikely he had intentionally taken the substance.
Browne was then due to fight Shannon Briggs for the same vacant WBA "regular" heavyweight title late last year before those plans were ruined by another positive test, this time for ostarine.
The boxer put that down to an innocent, albeit stupid, mistake but resents that he’s still seen as a drug cheat by some.
“I get called a cheat almost every day,” Browne said. “... From my point of view, I got well and truly done over (the first time). Whether you believe that or not, it doesn’t really matter to me. The second time was my f*** up, yes, but it was a pre-workout (supplement) from the shop. I’m not a drug cheat. I’m not taking any drugs and I never was.”
Browne is hoping to quickly work his way up to bigger fights, with history-making New Zealand WBO world champion Joseph Parker high on his hit list.
Browne would also be eager to step in to fight Fres Oquendo — who was meant to fight Briggs this weekend for the vacant title before Briggs tested positive for dramatically increased levels of testosterone — though Browne is still currently banned from fighting for a WBA world title.
“A fight with Joseph Parker for the WBO title would be a great start, title contention wise, and I think it’d be a great fight with the ANZAC (rivarly), there’d be a lot of interest.” Browne said.