HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne

By: Ste Rowen

Following the madness of Wilder vs Ortiz in New York, and the anticipation of the upcoming Joshua vs Parker unification bout, you may be forgiven for forgetting about a potential barn stormer in between, in the form of Dillian Whyte v Lucas Browne. The two face-off this weekend at London’s O2 arena in a fight that should set the winner up for a world title shot.

Last time out, the two heavyweight contenders had very different match-ups.

The WBC number one contender, Dillian Whyte, 22-1 (16KOs) took on Robert Helenius for the ‘not-so-coveted’ WBC silver title on the undercard of Joshua v Takam. For 12 labouring rounds, Dillian went in search of his opponent as the Swede evaded Whyte’s attack, but never replied with his own offense. The Brit’s accuracy was substandard that night, and way below the standard he set for himself in his fight of the year contender vs Dereck Chisora just less than a year earlier.

Just like the Chisora fight, October’s clash with Helenius went to the scorecards and though it saw Whyte pick up a comprehensive unanimous decision victory, it was a performance that did very little to help him entice new fans. However, a lack lustre performance has done nothing to deter Whyte’s belief in himself, or his eagerness to knockout his Australian foe,

‘I can’t wait, I hate Lucas Browne and I want to hurt him. He’s said some nasty things and he’s going to have to pay for them.’

‘If I don’t knock him out I will not be happy…Beating him should make me a mandatory challenger. I’m highly ranked across the board. I’ll be a more than credible world title challenger.’

In stark contrast, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne’s last fight was his return fight from a number of disputed failed drug tests that followed his come from behind 2016 victory over Ruslan Chagaev in Chechnya, for the WBA ‘Regular’ belt.
Browne, 25-0 (22KOs) knocked out no-hoper, Matt Greer in the second round at the Punchbowl social club, Sydney, a world away from Saturday’s night venue. The fight told us very little about where Browne is at since his impressive victory over Chagaev 14 months earlier. That bout saw Browne knocked down and cut before steamrolling through the Uzbek in the 10th with continuous right hooks.

That should’ve been the break out fight that setup potential showdowns with the likes of Wilder, Joshua, or even the not yet retired Wladimir Klitschko, but instead Brown returned two positive tests for clenbuterol and then eight months later, a positive sample for ostarine, for which Browne has tried to explain was from a pre-workout he took without checking the contents.

The 38-year-old is now ready to put the past few years behind him and get back on track for a world title shot,’
‘It’s a very silly fight for him. Being number one ranked, to take on someone like me who is a big puncher, I think it’s a very silly fight, but for me it’s perfect. He’s got rankings across the board as well, not just the WBC so I’m extremely happy for this fight.’

Browne isn’t the only one with a questionable record when it comes to drugs. Whyte was suspended for two years back in 2012 when he tested positive for a banned stimulant. Like Browne, Dillian claimed it was due to a supplement he took without properly checking the ingredients.

Concentrating on the two fighter’s actual boxing skills though, this has the potential to be a very gruelling but ugly fight. Neither fights with much concern for defence or seems to bothered about wasting shots, which seems strange for Browne who does have a tendency to cut easily, a weakness Whyte will jump on if the Australian does sustain a meaningful cut early on.

Whyte of course has been knocked out, his sole defeat coming at the hands of WBA & IBF champion Anthony Joshua back in 2015 for the British title, and in his two biggest fights since, Whyte has had to come through adversity against Chisora and briefly in the Helenius fight when he was shaken by a left hook. So, if Browne’s power is legit, he should be able to significantly test Whyte’s chin more than once through 12 rounds of action.

For the winner, a world title shot should be next. For the loser, heavyweight obscurity could await. Proving there’s a lot more than rivalry on the line on Saturday.

On the undercard…

Just a month on from his devastating first round stoppage of Joe Murray, Lewis Ritson, 14-0 (8KOs) returns to the ring for his second defence of his British lightweight belt against Scott Cardle, 22-1 (7KOs). Ritson’s currently on a five fight KO streak, and though heavily favoured against Cardle, it will be a real statement from the Newcastle native if he can score another stoppage victory.

Frank Buglioni, 21-2-1 (15KOs) will defend his British light heavyweight title for the third time against mandatory challenger, Callum Johnson. With the likes of Anthony Yarde, Hosea Burton and Bob Ajisafe waiting in the wings for a shot at the British, Johnson, 16-0 (11KOs) will be hoping to end the constant talk of potential future fights for Buglioni.

The aforementioned Dereck Chisora, 27-8 (19KOs) is also a late addition to the card in what is expected to be a stay busy 8-rounder, since his majority decision loss to European champion, Agit Kabayel in Monaco last November.

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