'I'm going to shock a lot of people': Lucas Browne interview
A confident Lucas Browne tells Anthony Cocks that he is targeting a knock out of Dillian Whyte on 24 March in their heavyweight clash at the O2 Arena...
WBC Silver heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte has bitten off more than he can chew.
That's the opinion of his next opponent Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne who will face the WBC number one ranked heavyweight at London's O2 Arena on 24 March.
"All the pressure will be on Whyte because it’s probably one of the dumbest fights he could ever take," said the big Australian on Monday, two days before flying out to England where he will put the finishing touches on his training camp.
"Holding the [WBC Silver] title and being in the position that he is in and fighting someone who’s going to knock him out, I think it’s quite silly to be honest," continued Browne.
"But that’s his call, that’s his team’s call. It’s putting a present in my lap, so to speak. I’m extremely happy about it.”
The heavily-tattooed former bouncer from Perth is no stranger to Old Blighty. In his nine-year professional career he has boxed on British soil five times, building a solid following from Hull to Manchester in the north down to Wolverhampton in the west Midlands.
This will be the first time Browne has fought any further south, but he still expects to have a sizeable section of the crowd on his side despite Whyte, 22-1 (16), hailing from nearby Brixton.
"Even though he’s from London and the fight is [being held] in London, I think half the fans will be there to watch me knock him out rather than anything else," said Browne, 25-0 (22).
It doesn't hurt that the 38-year-old is promoted by one of the most popular boxers Britain has produced in the past quarter-century.
“Luckily I’ve got the backing of Ricky Hatton, who is a very well-loved person over there,” said Browne. “Every time I’ve gone over there I’ve come to fight. I haven’t trash-talked like a lot of people do. I do my talking in the ring, so I think from a boxing perspective they really like that over there.
"They like the non-trash-talking Aussie who comes over to fight, so yeah, it helps me because that’s my style.”
Two years Browne travelled to Grozny in Chechnya to challenge WBA ‘regular’ champion Ruslan Chagaev, whose only career losses at the time had been against leading contender Alexander Povetkin on points in a competitive fight and a world title bid against long-reigning unified champion Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF, WBO and IBO titles that was stopped at the end of the ninth.
Against Chagaev, Browne got off to a slow start and the stocky 6-foot-1 southpaw was able to rack up an early points lead, even dropping the Aussie challenger in the sixth round before succumbing to the 6’5” antipodean’s powerful right hand in the tenth.
By fight time Browne will have only fought two bouts in the previous 30 months compared to Whyte’s eight, largely due to the controversy surrounding two positive drug tests, both of which were disputed by Browne, with the first being overturned by the WBA. At 38 it remains to be seen what impact the lack of ring activity will have on Browne’s fitness, rhythm and timing.
He expects an early blitzkrieg from Whyte as the 29-year-old ‘Body Snatcher’ seeks to test his resolve.
"I definitely am expecting him to jump on me early,” he said. “I think those first sort of four rounds will be my dangerous time. In saying that though I’ve had some good sparring with some Islanders over here. I’m heading over on Wednesday to the UK, sparring the likes of Nathan Gorman and Dereck Chisora once I head into London, so I think some nice hard sparring will be just as good as getting into the ring, so to speak.
“And again I’ve done it 25 times now, so I know the feeling. It’s going to be one of those things where I need to get back up to where I need to be. I think the excitement will probably get to me more than the nerves or ring rust.”
Browne isn't worried about what Whyte throws at him and believes it will be his activity that dictates the course of the fight.
"I really do feel that he won’t be able to handle my jab, which will make him change his game plan a little bit,” said Browne, who expects to weigh in around the 260-pound mark for the fight. “And once he feels my right hand and the power that I have, think he’s going to stand off a little bit more than what he would probably want to as well.
“I don’t think he’s going to expect or handle some of the things that I’m doing now. I’m moving a lot better, different angles and those sort of things. Much like Chagaev where they weren’t expecting me to come out and hit the way I did, and I’m twice as good as I was in that fight.
“I think I’m going to a shock a lot of people just with how I handle things in the ring and it’s the little things that make a big difference. Especially form my point of view, I don’t really count on him doing anything, it’s really on me to do what I do and he’s got to be able to handle me, so to speak.”
The Chechen experience hardened Browne's resolve. Fighting in a city which was hit hard by two recent wars and an almost decade long insurgency – and was once rated the most-destroyed city on earth – Browne had to adjust to travelling with a fully-armed three-man security detail who accompanied him wherever he went.
By comparison, preparation for Whyte has been a breeze.
"To be honest I think it’s much more relaxed,” he said. “I would say he’s just a normal fighter; he’s not fighting southpaw or anything like that. We don’t have to go to Chechnya, which is a great thing. So for us it’s going to a boxing country where they speak English, so all those pressures are off.
"Since Chagaev I’m so much more mentally tough, you can say I’ve been through the worst. We’re very relaxed, we’re in a great place, continuously learning so I’m pretty happy with it.”
As for the fight result, Browne will only be satisfied with a knockout.
“Regardless of anything else, I don’t want it to go the distance,” said Browne, who has a knockout ratio of 88 per cent. “I don’t like having my livelihood in the hands of three people who are watching the fight.
“If I stop him, knock him out, whatever it may be, there’s no argument that I won. So I’ll be looking for a knockout. I won’t be chasing it or anything but if it’s there I’m going to take it for sure.”
Meanwhile this weekend’s big heavyweight title fight between WBC champion Deontay Wilder 39-0 (38) and US-based Cuban Luis Ortiz 28-0 (24) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York is of great interest to Browne as victory over Whyte will put him in a prime position to challenge the winner of a contest between Boxing Monthly’s number two and number five ranked heavyweights.
“I think it’s going to be messy because Ortiz is obviously very good and a southpaw,” said Browne. “So I think that will trouble Wilder. I don’t rate Wilder as a boxer, but he surely can hit. So when he does hit you, you get hurt. From that point of view if he comes out with the windmills like he normally does, it’s going to be messy as hell. So I still put it as Wilder winning 60-40, just because he’s got the power, nothing else.”
A week after Browne takes on Whyte, Anthony Joshua 20-0 (20) will be attempting to unify his IBF, WBA and IBO titles with New Zealand’s WBO champion Joseph Parker 24-0 (18) at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
“I think it’s up to Joshua in how he handles it,” said Browne. “If he comes close like he did in the [Carlos] Takam fight, I think he gives Parker a much better chance. But if he fights long, I think it’s Joshua all day. So I’m assuming he’s going fight long, but you never know. But at this point I’m giving it to Joshua, 60-40.”