By Terence Dooley
Although Australia’s Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KOs) refers to his March 24 fight against WBC Silver heavyweight titlist Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 early) at the O2 Arena in London as the ‘Road to redemption’ it also has some very practical connotations for the 38-year-old.
A win over Chisora, ranked 1, 7, 4, and 4 with the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO respectively, would bring Browne into contention for a world title shot and wipe away some of the pain he felt when being stripped of the WBA’s Regular title due to a failed drugs test for the banned fat burner clenbuterol in 2016 following a win over Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia.
Following an appeal, the WBA stated that it was ‘unlikely Browne intentionally or voluntarily ingested clenbuterol in a single dose in the days leading up to the bout as the amount would not have gained any advantage’ and handed him back his rating, but not the title.
A second failed test for ostarine in November 2016 saw Browne lose six-months of his career and suffer no small amount of online jibes, but he believes that, having done his time, the time is now nigh for him to put the past behind him and concentrate on the next stage of his career. He maintains that the second test stemmed from using an over the counter product and has since registered a comeback win (W KO 2 over Matthew Greer in June).
“I should have done some research—it was a very costly mistake,” he said when talking to BoxingScene
Since then, and no doubt as the build-up to the Whyte fight intensifies, Browne has been targeted online. Cries of ‘Cheat’ will follow him across the Internet yet he sees very few of them after leaving Twitter to someone else and migrating to Instagram for personal use.
“Myself and the Block button became very good friends,” he said.
“I’m not into it (Twitter) anymore and just block everyone. People make up accounts just to abuse you or send a message, it is quite a sad turn of events and a sign of where society is going. Such is life, unfortunately. I still run my Instagram and Facebook. To be fair, the sheer stupidity of some of the comments is just funny.”
However, in order to gain his slice of redemption he will have to produce against Whyte, and he told me to expect a war. “I didn’t want to just sit there and be the type of person who took it all, I wanted to come back with my own bits and pieces and it worked out well,” he said, referring back to their recent press conference and the filming of a The Gloves Are Off for Sky Sports. “I expected them to talk it up and for him to come all guns blazing as he basically has to sell the fight.”
“Nothing is really expected of me in that regard,” he said when asked if it is right that many see Whyte as the pre-fight favourite. “I like being the underdog and coming over to England. It is time for me to get back on to the bigger stages and to headlining a show—it was my first trip to London so I look forward to coming back.”
“It will be a great fight,” he predicted. “As long as it is a competitive, back and forwards fight, there won’t be a loser thereafter as we will both put on a performance and the crowd will see what they came to see and they will be the winners. I like knockouts and stoppages because I don’t want three judges deciding what happens in my career or my life. If I knock him out then I’ve won and I hope it is a good, bloody fight.”
Browne is no stranger to exciting fights, his win over Chagaev saw him rise from a sixth-round knockdown before finishing the job in the 10th and his November 2013 fifth-round win over Richard Towers at the Ice Arena in Hull had an enthralling, if messy, finale.
“Richard was an absolute champion of a fella,” recalled Browne. “My fight before that in the UK I fought Hastings Rasani and stayed with Richard in Sheffield, he looked after me and we got on like an absolute house on fire.
“Unfortunately, he was the opponent, that’s the way boxing is. I knew he was going to lean over the ropes, judging by the Gregory Tony fight, and when he did I followed him to them. It was a perfect plan for me and worked out perfectly. Everyone loved it. They just love the heavyweights and watching them punch on, that is the appeal the heavyweights have and people want that.”
Indeed, he has fought on these shores five times in total, and he argued that the experience of going away to beat Chagaev will hold him in good stead, saying: “Going to Chechnya, I was the only person on my side, the entire crowd was against me, but I love coming to the UK, I get a lot of love from the fans. I just focus on what I have to do, as it is what I do for a living.”
After turning professional in 2009, Browne rattled off 10 wins in his native Australia before linking up with Ricky Hatton in 2012. A year later he faced living legend James Toney at the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Melbourne. Browne’s decision win over the faded former IBF middleweight, Super middleweight and cruiserweight champion was talked down due to Toney’s age, but "Big Daddy" argued that he still deserves credit for it.
“It was a great stepping stone for me in my career because it showed I could box when I needed to,” he said. “Obviously, Toney was well past his former glory, but I wasn’t who I was going to be either. I was still very fresh, he was on the arse end of his career. Everyone has got to knock something of some sort. It has become a cultural thing, it is easier for them to knock anything to make themselves feel better about themselves. I’d like to see anyone who knocked that go in against him and see how long they last.”
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