News February 2018

Lucas Browne Promises Violent KO in Whyte Grudge match, talks layoff and AJ vs Parker


By Michael J Jones

EVERY PROMOTER will suggest that their main event is a grudge match as that sells in boxing more than almost anything. The notion that a fight is personal between two rivals fuels the prefight battle lust for fight fans and, more importantly, adds spark to the event and thus sells tickets and gains viewers.

On March 24th at the O2 Arena, Jamaican-born Londoner Dillian Whyte faces big-punching Aussie Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne with the WBC Silver title up for grabs. While the fact that both men are known punchers who aren’t prone to fancy defensive boxing makes this a potential barn-burner, it’s also a rarity in boxing in that both men appear to genuinely despise each other.

Speaking exclusively to Livefight this week, the undefeated Browne confirms what many have already surmised ahead of the heavyweight clash.

“I genuinely don’t like the guy and I really don’t care for the way he operates” growls the imposing Browne. “It’s been heated between us already and he’s said some things but that’s just the way he is; he likes to talk. I think he very often talks before he’s properly engaged his brain.”

After a lengthy spat between the pair on Twitter, the two men came face-to-face recently at the first press conference where both exchanged more insults in a lively affair.

“He thought he’d put me on show and try and make a fool of me. He even had a group of guys in there to laugh and jeer along to what he was saying but I made a point to stick up for myself and gave as good as I got.”

The fight will be the main event live on Sky Sports and seems a dangerous fight for “The Body Snatcher” to take at this stage. The 29 year old Whyte is unbeaten since his defeat by Anthony Joshua just over two years ago and is currently highly-ranked by all four governing bodies. That includes being the number one ranked contender to WBC ruler Deontay Wilder.

Considering Browne is 25-0 (22), a big puncher with a sturdy jaw and grit, it seems evident there’s far more for Brixton’s WBC Silver champion to lose than gain.

“I agree completely with that in that it’s a silly fight for Whyte to be taking at this stage of his career” Lucas concurs of his bitter rival. “He’s got a lot to lose and, in the heavyweight division especially, things can change dramatically with one punch. I see it as he’s got everything to lose and I have everything to gain in this fight.”

“Do I think he’s taking me on because he wasn’t keen on facing WBC Kingpin Wilder? Of course, I think he knew if he fought Wilder he’d get knocked out so he’s taking, what he thinks, is an easier route but (Whyte) is in for a massive shock on March 24th.”

“Because of our respective styles it can’t be anything other than a great fight and one I will win. I’m aiming for a stoppage and I don’t care how it comes whether it be a clean knock-out, corner retirement or the referee’s intervention. I just don’t want it to go to the judges as I don’t like leaving fate in the hands of people who could interpret things differently.”

“With a knock-out I have won beyond any dispute.”

Browne has had a shocking two years with just one brief outing in that time. In March 2016 he ventured to Grozny to face WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev. A prefight underdog, Browne came off second best in the early rounds as the southpaw champion peppered him with stinging combinations.

The fight appeared to be nearing its conclusion when the 6’5” Browne was floored by a heavy left in the sixth but the tattooed Aussie had other ideas. Behind on the score-cards, Browne came on in the later rounds and, amazingly, found the punches to pound the Uzbekistan into submission in the tenth.

As Browne celebrated the finest victory of his pro career, plus lifting the WBA title, the “Big Daddy” story quickly turned sour.

A routine drugs test found alleged traces of clenbuterol in the new champion’s system. The Aussie bruiser would thus go, virtually overnight, from being hailed a hero to the indignity of being labelled a drugs cheat. While the fighter strongly protested his innocence, a further failed test the following November by VADA compounded his situation.

While the above has been documented at length, Livefight has noted that Lucas Browne has not shied away from the situation at any point and has been vocal in strongly protesting the first test while holding his hands up that he simply made a mistake with the second.

Browne also took a lie-detector test (arranged by his promoter Ricky Hatton), to support his case after the first failed test and entered the WBC Clean boxing programme following the second testing incident.

Although most followers of boxing are quick to point out that any assistance to a fighter above training, diet and sparring is a direct threat to a potential opponent’s health and well-being, it’s also well to keep in mind how sensitive some of the modern testing techniques are. Taking a supplement without heavily researching its contents could cause catastrophic consequences as Browne has discovered.

“The first test I see it as I was cheated out of that moment” comments a still-incensed Lucas. “I won the WBA title but I couldn’t celebrate my victory, I couldn’t defend the title I won and there was no financial reward at all for it. That is what is fuelling me now. I want it all back. I need to fight, to get my ranking back and to start earning money.”

“The second failed test was a mistake and I held up my hands straight away. I didn’t check my pre-workout (supplement). It was stupid of me and my fault entirely. That to me is my first and only offence and I took my punishment on the chin without complaint but it doesn’t stop daily abuse on social media.”

Indeed, for every Lucas Browne Tweet and Facebook status you can guarantee a derogative comment or ten aimed at “Big Daddy”. One attack launched recently was from fellow heavyweight Tony Bellew who suggested Browne be banned from boxing for life.

“It’s the world we live in these days with social media” sighs the 38 year old. “Tony Bellew I’m not his biggest fan anyway; he’s one of these outspoken types you get in this is day and age. He sounded off and said I should be banned for life which is very harsh. To target me is totally out of order and we went back-and-forth but he’ll never back anything up and fight me so that’s that.”

Back to the Dillian Whyte contest and I enquire, with Browne having just two rounds of action in two years (a low-key stoppage of journeyman Matt Greer), is ring rust a concern ahead of a dangerous contest against one of the best heavyweights around right now?

“Listen, at this point I’m 38-years-old and I’ve lost ground by being inactive so I’ve got to jump straight back in and take this opportunity. It’s for the WBC Silver belt so this is a massive fight for me and a huge opportunity. I’m at an advanced age for a professional boxer but I’m still fresh for my years.”

“I didn’t start boxing until late on so I didn’t get banged up in the amateurs like many do. I’ve only had 25 fights, I’ve never carried injuries and I’ve not fought hardly at all the last few years so I’m very fresh and feel great.”

“I feel I’ve got to do everything I can, starting from now in 2018, to do as much as possible. I’m fresh and still learning and I’ve got at least five good fights left in me.”

“Dillian Whyte has improved in the last couple of years though I still feel Dereck Chisora beat him a while ago (Whyte won a split decision). If you keep at anything you’ll improve, if you don’t there’s something wrong. He’ll want to come at me with those body shots but I’ll be ready and I’m working on improving my footwork right now for that.”

“It works in my favour him wanting to get in close as he’ll be right there to catch a hook or a good uppercut. I’ve got an MMA background so I’m comfortable in close where, after a few rounds of feeling each other out, the fight is destined to end up.”

A week after the Browne-Whyte fight sees a unification bout between British star Anthony Joshua and New Zealander Joseph Parker. Browne was closely linked to a clash with WBO champion Parker before the champion secured his Cardiff date against AJ.
Who does Browne think will prevail on March 31st?

“I’m like 60-40 leaning towards Joshua” Browne says after a short pause. “It’s very important that Joshua keeps the fight at length where he will have the bigger advantage in my opinion. If he fights in close like he did against (Carlos) Takam it works to Parker’s advantage and the fight will be much more difficult.”

“I think Joshua is underestimating Parker a little but, Joshua’s been brought through very well and has a good team and they’ll know they have the world at their feet and one punch can ruin everything so they’ll be ready.”

“I personally thought when Tyson Fury beat Klitschko (in November 2015) it was brilliant for boxing. As good as the Klitschko brothers were, they weren’t entertaining and their reign ending was a step forward for the division. Because of what has happened to Fury it’s Anthony Joshua who has become the star and he’s the cash cow who everyone wants to fight.”

“People are queuing up to take on Joshua but it means Deontay Wilder has been left in the wilderness with no big paydays on the horizon. With that said, there’s a lot of good fighters around and many top prospects coming through the ranks so I can only see a very exciting time for the heavyweights over the next few years.”

Lucas Browne is 6’5”, 250lbs, shaven headed and covered in tattoos. It is therefore a surprise during my research that I discover he was a 2004 Australian Idol contestant who was good enough to make the last fifty in the televised singing competition.

“Yeah that’s true I actually made the top fifty in season two” smiles the Sydney native. “One of the things I wanted to do as a kid was be a singer. I can actually sing and I’ve performed at numerous weddings and functions and enjoy it.”

Lucas makes the point of thanking his many fans before our interview concludes.

“I’d just like to thank all of the fans who support me and especially the ones in the UK. I love fighting in the UK and I’m always well received and I know there will be plenty of people in attendance on March 24th that will be hoping I knock Whyte out.”

“I’m coming over to the UK on March the 1st or 2nd and when I’m in Manchester if anyone wants to visit me for an autograph, chat or picture they are welcome. It’s the least I can do to thank the fans for their loyal support.”

Last message for his March 24th opponent?

“Dillian Whyte I’m bringing pure violence to you. You talk the talk but I walk the walk and I’m going to destroy you.”

Livefight would like to thank Lucas and Paul Speak for this interview.

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