Lucas Browne’s Courageous Victory
After watching so many of their fighters beaten on the world stage in recent years, Browne brought a measure of respect back to the nation…
The Russian republic of Chechnya is well documented for its war torn history but on Saturday night at the Colosseum Sport Hall in the city of Grozny, the focus of the region switched from its past infractions and upheavals to that of a world heavyweight title fight between Uzbekistan’s WBA regular titleholder, Ruslan “White Tyson” Chagaev (34-3-1, 21KOs) and the undefeated Australian challenger, Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne (24-0, 21 KOs).
Its been just over three months since Tyson Fury shocked the world when he defeated the long reigning and undisputed heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, and since that night in Dusseldorf, Germany, the heavyweight division has come alive.
Today’s bout for the WBA ‘regular’ title was testament to a newfound hunger that has enveloped the current crop of heavyweights in the post-Klitschko era, and it didn’t disappoint.
The fight began in unexpected fashion as the big slugging Browne showed off some new boxing skills. With Chagaev on the front foot, Browne used his reach advantage and jabbed the face of the champion, often. When Chagaev did get inside he looked dangerous and Browne, normally content to slug it out, looked a little uncomfortable.
The second round saw more of the same from both men, the slugger content to try and outbox the champion and the more polished boxer in Chagaev looking to get on the inside and trade blows. By the third round it was looking like Chagaev had figured out Browne’s tactics and was beginning to work the body nicely.
It was clear by the fourth round that Browne would need to bring more than a good jab and occasional lead right to beat the experienced champion. He began using the uppercut, landing cleanly, but it seemed as though the much-vaunted power of Browne was having little effect on the sturdy chin of Ruslan. By the fifth it looked as though Chagaev had begun his march toward victory, none more apparent than when he slightly wobbled the big Aussie with a blow to the head.
The sixth round was action packed, Browne was cut early and the action peaked when, with thirty seconds left on the clock, Chagaev landed a looping shot to drop Browne. The challenger got back to his feet but was clearly hurt. Chagaev went on the attack, looking to end the fight right then and there and despite what seemed like a long round, “Big Daddy” made it to the bell, a bloodied and beaten mess. The end looked near.
Despite the beating he took in that sixth round, Browne came out looking surprisingly good in the seventh. He went back to the jab and used his feet to stay out of the range of the champion and continued to use his uppercut to good effect, but there was little to be seen that gave confidence to those backing the big Aussie challenger for a victory.
Browne continued with his early game plan throughout the next three rounds, jabbing, moving, and staying out of range of Chagaev as much as possible, but his jab had lost a great measure of pop, delivered in a pawing motion which done little to halt the advances of Chagaev, who was well and truly on top in the fight.
Speak to anyone who’s been around the fight game long enough and they will tell you it only takes one punch to win a fight. It’s an old cliché, but in the case of this fight it’s one that rings especially true. In the tenth round Browne landed a right hook, a punch he had hardly thrown all fight, to the jaw of Chagaev and the champion went down hard. He beat the count but “Big Daddy” was all over him, landing all manner of big shots as Chagaev languished on the ropes. The referee stepped in to save the clearly hurt Ruslan and Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne raised his hands in victory.
For Australian boxing it was a major shot in the arm. After watching so many of their fighters beaten on the world stage in recent years, Browne brought a measure of respect back to the nation. He showed great heart in coming back from the beating he took in the sixth round and despite being written off before the fight had even begun he showed off some newfound boxing skills, but for the big man from Down Under it was ultimately his power that once again got him through.
Browne has a history of beating the odds and for a guy who turned professional at 29 years of age, this victory, in Chechnya of all places, was a grand display of a man beating the all the odds. Browne may not have the background that most champions do but he proved today that he well and truly has the heart. Write off Lucas Browne at your own peril. Many have and many paid the price.
Follow Daniel Attias on Twitter @https://twitter.com/Dan_Attias