“I love the fact I can knock people out but instead of getting in trouble, I get cheers and paid for it.”
In a division of trash-talkers and big units, heavyweight Lucas Browne stands out. And it’s not just because of his size.
Sure, he stands 193cm and weighs in around 114 kilograms, so he’s hard to miss. But it’s Browne’s whole persona that catches the eye. It’s the bald head. It’s the array of artwork across his body, three times more than your average NRL player. It’s the straight talk he employs, the engagement with fans he enjoys through digital media and the granite in his fists that all combine to live long in the memory.
Browne is a one-man wrecking machine who is keen to wreak havoc on the heavyweight division.
Ranked 21st in the world by BoxRec and with a record of 19 wins and no losses, the Sydney-based boxer is on his way. Browne only started boxing in 2009 after a career as an MMA fighter.
“I started boxing full time because I’m not a kicker or wrestler, and have always been comfortable on my feet using just my fists. I’ve always liked fighting and though as I turned 30, it was now or never, so with very little training I jumped in head first.”
In his first bout he took on Jason Kier at Manly Leagues Club and knocked him out in four rounds.
A similar pattern has followed. Only two of the 34-year old’s fights have ended in anything but a KO – he won a unanimous points decision over Clarence Tillman in 2011 and Travis Walker declined to come out for the eighth round in their 2013 clash.
In the past 12 months Browne’s career has gathered pace.
Last year saw five wins, the most important coming against former sparring partner Richard Towers in the UK in November. Browne earned a shot at Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price after delivering an impressive fifth round KO of Towers. But Price has declined to face the Australian, vacating his Commonwealth belt. Browne will now meet Canada’s Eric Martel Bahoeli in Sheffield on April 26.
“Eric has a very good come forward style and looks to have some decent power, I’m expecting a war. It’s a stepping stone to bigger and better things for me. I want a world title, so nothing will be enough until then.”
The Canadian is 10-3-0 and has won his last three fights. If Browne can get past Martel Bahoeli then a potential showdown with top 10 British heavyweights Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora may materialise. No Australian has won the Commonwealth heavyweight title for over 100 years.
Browne has spent time training in the UK and has already fought there three times. Managed by former English welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton, he has built a cult following in Britain.
“I’m very happy and humbled by the UK following, but I also want to be fighting some bigger fights in the US as well, Vegas and New York City.” Browne is one Aussie fighter who has smartly used Twitter and Instagram to build his profile and fan-base. Approachable and amiable, the slugger’s straight-forward style has struck a cord with many.
“I’ve just stayed humble and spoke the truth. I answer questions and don’t talk shit, it’s worked. I think the truest way to judge how you are doing is to ask the public for their honest opinion. I like talking with fans.”
Browne also knows a thing or two about marketing. He has his own line of merchandise and came up with his own ring moniker of ‘Big Daddy’.
“I needed a name that would stick. People were calling me the big bald guy, so I made the brand and ran with it.”
Browne’s style can be best described as basic but vicious. He is not a great mover or the fastest puncher, but when his blows land they hurt. The boxer is still learning the fight game. His best asset is his power, his disregard for personal safety in his letting his hands go in search of a knockout. That’s one of the reasons Browne has become so popular – fight fans love a KO, a walk-forward fighter who has no fear.They love to see two big fellas going at it hammer and tongs.
On the same night the 34-year old fights for the Commonwealth strap in the UK, fellow Aussie Alex Leapai takes on Wladimir Klitschko across the channel in Germany. The Queenslander is boxing for the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO heavyweight world titles and is a massive underdog. If Leapai can somehow secure a win, it would be one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Leapai and Browne have never fought but a match-up between the two Australians would be juicy.
“Congrats to Alex but I don’t think he has the tools to touch him. KO in six for me. I think a fight between Alex and me is always going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.”
For now Browne is just focusing on winning in England. The clock is not on his side, but the big slugger is making the most of his boxing career.
“I moved back to Sydney to move forward with my boxing.. Perth was were my kids moved to so I followed, but it’s my time to shine now and I’m taking the opportunity.”
“My goal is to go as far as I can. Make a name for myself and provide for my family.”
Words by John Davidson
Follow John on Twitter @johnnyddavidson