THE heavyweight division will meet its next legitimate title challenger on Sunday morning.
Long feuding rivals Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KOs) and Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) will finally collide for the WBC International heavyweight title along with mandatory status to face WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder at The O2 Arena in London.
We spoke to our panel of industry insiders to get their thoughts on the highly anticipated clash.
Ben Damon, MAIN EVENT – Record: 16-13
Browne TKO Whyte: The reason bookmakers have Browne as such a big underdog in this massive bout is that he has fought just seven minutes since his Chechnyan heroics two years ago. His inactivity of the past nine months is a legitimate concern but there’s no reason to suspect Browne has left his power behind.
Whyte is rough and ready – he’s boxed 53 rounds since Browne beat Chagaev – and the conventional wisdom is, the longer the fight goes the better for him. Perhaps Browne won’t let it go too long.
Adam Wilcock, Promoter/Manager – Record: 18-12
Browne KO Whyte: Whyte is a hype job in my eyes. Really fought nobody and his claim to fame is making it into the eighth round against Anthony Joshua. Great promotion by Matchroom, this fight takes two fringe guys and turns one into an opponent for Joshua in late 2018.
Dan Attias, Columnist – Record: 5-1
Browne KO Whyte: Lucas Browne vs. Dillian Whyte is a recipe for war. This one isn’t going the distance, the disdain these two men have for each other is apparent and as such I expect both men to go all out in an attempt to stop the other. I see Browne landing a telling blow in the mid-to-late stages of the bout.
Chris McCullen, Trainer – Record: 4-6
Whyte W12 Browne: This is a tough one as ‘Big Daddy’ has the power to beat some decent heavyweights. But his lack of boxing over the past twelve months could hurt him here. Whyte should outwork Browne, but hopefully he lands the knockout punch. I’ll go with Whyte on points due to inactivity.
Neil Devey, Journalist – Record: 6-5
Browne W12 Whyte: A close fight to call, although not if you look at UK bookies who have Whyte 4-1 on favourite with Browne 11-4. Home money might explain this, but Whyte’s last performance – a points win over Swede Robert Helenius last October – hardly inspires. Browne is giving away nine years to Whyte and has had one low-key fight in two years.
Both factors cannot be dismissed. But simply because of market value, I’m happy to throw my tenner on ‘Big Daddy’ to come through on points.
Luke Jackson, Featherweight – Record: 2-2
Whyte TKO Browne: Dillian Whyte nearly stopped the freight train Anthony Joshua and has had some good wins since getting knocked out in that fight. I think his resume has a lot better competition on it compared to Browne and I think he wins by stoppage.
Cody Kaye, Journalist for Fox Sports – Record: 7-4
Browne KO Whyte: Lucas Browne is going to get this done. He’s got one of Australia’s best kept secrets in his corner in trainer Rodney Williams, and I think we’ll see another side of Browne in this fight. We all know he hits like a tank, but he can move and box too.
Whyte is a very solid gatekeeper and he’ll test Lucas with a lot of pressure. But when Lucas lands it’s lights out. I’m tipping Browne by knockout to win the WBC Silver title.
Matt Clark, Manager/Advisor – Record: 16-4
Browne KO Whyte: Our team love Lucas’ chances in this fight. After all we went through in Chechnya, fighting in London isn’t a concern. Whyte can be hit and hurt and he is susceptible to being shaken with right hands to the temple area. Lucas carries his power deep into the fight.
At some point he’s going to catch Whyte and take him out of there. When Lucas hurts you, you’re done.
Brendan Bourke, Manager/Advisor – Record: 18-7
Browne TKO Whyte: This is a great fight for Lucas, a win here will open up big money fights with Joshua, Wilder or Fury. This should be a very exciting toe-to-toe punch up and both fighters could go down before the winner is announced. It’s hard to split these two big men, but I’ll go for Browne to win by TKO.
Adam Santarossa, Journalist for News.com.au – Record: 9-4
Browne TKO9 Whyte: Lucas Browne is calling his preparation for this fight, the road to redemption and with good reason. Victory here should pilot him straight back to where he was sitting after his world title win over Ruslan Chagaev. It is a good time to be a heavyweight and there’s plenty of options out there for the winner.
Dillian Whyte is no joke and was close to putting Anthony Joshua away a couple of years back. Browne needs to deal with the constant pressure of Whyte for twelve rounds, and that’s a huge factor in this fight. Browne has rarely gone the distance in his career. In saying that, there’s a very good reason, he knocks everyone out.
If he finds the chin of the Brit, he’ll do the same. So hard to pick this fight, but loyalty wins out for me.
Gareth Williams, Trainer – Record: 15-9
Browne KO8 Whyte: I think it’s the right time for Lucas to earn the respect back from the boxing public with a big knockout in eight rounds. Lucas will box and move early before he starts planting his feet and loading on the power. This is a great fight for Lucas to get back his recognition at the top level.
Brett Bonetti, Journalist for 6PR – Record: 8-4
Browne KO6 Whyte: The hatred and trash talk between this pair is real. Lucas has trained hard and has been waiting to get back to this moment, I have to go with Lucas. He is going to knock Whyte out in six rounds and set up another opportunity.
Lincoln Hudson, Trainer – Record: 18-9
Browne KO Whyte This fight is going to be a cracker. Lucas lost his title outside the ring – not in the ring – and a lot of people live with tall poppy syndrome and got excited about that happening. For me, I get excited about thinking that the big unit is back in the ring, and doing what he does best. I’m tipping Lucas to win by knockout against the disrespectful Whyte.
George Reno, Trainer – Record: 17-7
Whyte W12 Browne: Lucas Browne has been out of action for a while, which makes it difficult in a fight like this. Having said that – I think a battle hardened Whyte wins by late stoppage – but I wouldn’t rule out a points decision.