By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte isn’t the least beat intimidated by Lucas Browne.
When Whyte looks at Browne’s resume, he’s hardly impressed with what Browne has accomplished entering their heavyweight fight Saturday night at O2 Arena in London. Browne is undefeated (25-0, 22 KOs), but the powerful Australian contender hasn’t recorded many noteworthy wins against championship-caliber heavyweights.
Browne did stop Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev to win the WBA heavyweight title in March 2016, but he later tested positive for clenbuterol and was stripped of that championship. Browne also was down big on all three scorecards (88-81, 88-82, 88-82) before his right hand dropped Chagaev and Browne beat him by technical knockout in the 10th round.
That shot showed how Browne’s power could change the course of even a fight he clearly was losing. Whyte reminded reporters during an open workout Tuesday, though, that he already has faced dangerous punchers.
“It’s heavyweight boxing,” Whyte said, according to a story posted to Sky Sports’ website. “If you fear one punch, move down a division or two. I don’t fear that.
“I’ve fought guys with a big punch, with speed, power, flashy technique, traditional boxing technique, tall guys who get a lot of leverage. He’s just a clubber.”
The 29-year-old Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) has lost only to British knockout artist Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs). Joshua, who since has captured the IBF, IBO and WBA heavyweight titles, stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their December 2015 bout at O2 Arena.
In addition to defeating Chagaev, the 38-year-old Browne beat a faded James Toney by unanimous decision and out-pointed previously unbeaten Andriy Rudenko during his rise through the heavyweight ranks.
“He’s strong, but he hasn’t fought anyone as youthful as me,” Whyte said. “He might have fought guys with better technique, but they have been old. I’ve got the skill, speed and power. People forget, but I’ve got power. I can knock people out.”
London’s Whyte, who was born in Jamaica, also believes he has benefited from improving his conditioning following his knockout defeat to Joshua.
“Before I fought A.J., I was a three-to-six-round puncher,” Whyte said. “But now I’ve got the punch power late into the fight, and I’ve got the cardio and conditioning to go with it. People say, ‘You’re more calm.’ I know what I need to do. Hindsight is a great thing. It’s about experience. I’ve grown physically and mentally.
“These guys say I’m no good. When they get here and I start landing, or I’m stronger than they thought, they change their minds. It’s going to be bloody, and it ain’t going to be my blood. Smack talk aside, this is going to be a good fight. It’s last-chance saloon for him. When someone is deluded, it makes them dangerous. He’s undefeated, so he’s confident. But it’s up to me to put some hurt on him.”
The Whyte-Browne bout will headline Sky Sports’ four-fight telecast Saturday night (7 p.m. GMT). HBO also will air it live in the United States, starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.