FOR a man that has grown increasingly familiar with knockdowns, concussions and highlight reels, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne offers the image of a man who is more than comfortable with continually stepping out of his comfort zone.
On April 26th, Browne will attempt to become the first Australian in over a century to capture the coveted Commonwealth heavyweight championship when he faces big-punching Canadian wildcard Eric Martel Bahoeli on foreign soil at the Ponds Forge Arena in Sheffield, United Kingdom.
In the space of eighteen months, Browne, 34, a one-time aspiring mixed martial artist turned Queensbury convert has forged a respectable resume while placing himself in the credible position of being a consensus top-fifteen heavyweight by a majority of boxing pundits.
For many people, Browne’s meteoritic rise has come as a surprise, but for the man himself, a never-say-die attitude accompanied by a drive to succeed have been critical to his successful transition from grappling in a cage to professional prize-fighting in boxing ring at an alarmingly high-level.
“Basically, I got to the age of thirty and didn’t want to look back at my life and wonder what if – so I jumped into the cage after very little formal training – and the rest is history.” said Browne. “I had eight MMA fights (going 6-2, 6 KOs) and the losses were against wrestlers, one being against Daniel Cormier, whose now in the UFC, so I quickly realised how much I don’t like wrestling. I never kicked in a fight so boxing was always going to be the path.”
“I’ve only been boxing professionally for just under three years and I have got a lot more to learn, but I say it’s my ability to learn quickly as well as watch others and copy that has made me progress quicker.”
Browne’s ability to learn quickly has been highlighted in the last twelve months, with a flash knockdown at the hands of Scott Belshaw in 2011 now seeming an eternity ago.
A signature twelve months for ‘Big Daddy’ began with a career-defining triumph over an admittedly faded James Toney last April before an impressive route of upset-minded Travis Walker in July, which was followed by a one-sided stoppage victory over promotional stable mate Richard Towers in a Commonwealth title eliminator in the United Kingdom.
Such is the marked improvement that Browne has shown in recent outings, Commonwealth heavyweight titlist David Price elected to vacate his crown and pursue other options instead of facing a man who many deemed not worthy of sharing a ring with him only twelve months earlier.
“I had an exciting year in 2013. I’m pleased with the way it’s all gone – I won a title against James Toney – and a secured a spot for the Commonwealth title with a knockout over Richard Towers in the UK,” Browne continued. “For me, both fights gave very good exposure for me overseas, and I’m the most happy about my ever growing international fan base.”
Part of the international fan base that Browne has developed is in part credited to the promotional company that Browne is signed to, Hyde-based Hatton Promotions. Founded in 2009, Hatton Promotions, named after it’s legendary namesake Ricky Hatton, signed Browne in 2012 in an attempt to branch out in the Asia Pacific region. With their push as well as financial backing, Browne has been able to earn recognition internationally, while building a brand that in time has become increasingly marketable.
“It was a great feeling knowing that someone of Ricky’s stature was even looking at my career, let alone wanting to promote it,” explained Browne. “Ricky is a very normal and down to earth guy who knows boxing and I’m happy to have been involved with his brand. I made the name ‘Big Daddy’ so basically people could identify who I was and so I could create a brand, which works as I’m a big boy and a father of three.”
With that said, Browne has struggled in recent times to secure fights with regularity, often fighting on other promoters cards in an attempt to remain active while seeking bigger international opportunities. While Browne admits the situation is far from ideal, he understands that it is part of the unique process of being signed to an international promoter.
“It’s the not knowing that always gets me, as well as the waiting due to time differences, which is frustrating. I’m impatient when it comes to my career – I just want to fight – and earn my money as well as my respect, but I have to abide by what Hatton Promotions say and do.” said Browne.
“It’s not anyone fault in particular, but it’s frustrating, I want to fight. I’ve never said no to a fight, but when the politics gets in the way and fights fall through it makes me look bad and as if I’m ducking people,” he continued. “Everyone wants to put on a good show for the least amount of money, but sometimes you need to pay the extra, which is all out of my hands, unfortunately.”
While Browne’s name continues to be linked with major opportunities overseas, it’s a mouth-watering fight with local rival Alex Leapai that has many fight fans salivating. However, the logistics behind both Leapai and Browne suggest that while it may be a fight of interest, it isn’t a realistic option at this point with both taking different career paths.
“I’ve always respected Alex and would love the opportunity to fight him one day. I’d like to sort out who the best heavyweight in Australia. He’s got his world title shot (against Wladimir Klitschko on April 26th) which is an awesome thing for him and his family and I fully support the man.”
“We will meet up one day for a fight to remember.”
When the term ‘transition’ is regularly thrown around, when it comes to Browne, the word is becoming a fitting description of his lifestyle, as the continues to adapt to his ever-changing surroundings. Browne has uprooted himself from his Perth home and returned to Sydney in order to train in improved facilities and in better training conditions.
“I moved to Perth for three years to be closer to my kids, but basically training yourself and having three sparring partners wasn’t cutting it for the level I’m now at, so I’ve moved back to Sydney. As of right now, I’m training at Beestingz Gym in St Marys and also at Live 4 Crossfit,” said Browne. “I currently have over ten sparring partners that all bring a different talent and I can be pushed in so many ways. I’m excited to be in a position to progress and learn as a fighter whilst being around people who were with me when I started fighting four years ago.”
Browne is a likeable character with a fan-friendly style. This in part with his social media movements have helped him in recent times garner attention from other notable rivals such as Tyson Fury, Derek Chisora and American knockout specialist Deontay Wilder. With time, any of these potential match ups could come to fruition and while Browne is optimistic, the fact that he’s in the running is a compliment in itself.
“To be honest, I’m honoured to be named in the same sentence as these guys and feel as if I’m doing something right,” admits Browne. “I’m a no bullsh*t kind of guy, I tell it how it is and I don’t trash talk. I fight to live, and to ensure my name is a good one for my family and kids.”
“I hope to get the chance to fight all of these names in the future.”