Today in Grozny, Russia we saw one of the most entertaining heavyweight fights of the year so far. Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne (24-0, 21 KOs) defeated Ruslan “White Tyson”Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs) by 10th round stoppage to claim his regular WBA belt. Browne showed tremendous heart and determination in this fight to earn the stoppage victory in front of a stunned Russian crowd.
The fight started off slowly without much action or exchanges, Browne and Chagaev both seemed gun shy and/or weary of each other’s power. As the fight progressed, Browne started moving around the ring, displaying solid head movement and boxing Chagaev, having success landing some big uppercuts as well. Chagaev eventually figured Browne’s scheme out, and started to time him and land big looping overhand lefts on the Aussie with ease.
Chagaev was in great form in the middle rounds, especially in the sixth when he landed a right to the body followed by a straight left that clipped Browne directly on the chin, sending him to the canvas for the first time since he fought Travis Walker. Browne got up, bought some time and did well to not get hurt immediately after getting up from the first knockdown.
There was a peculiar occurrence, however, as Browne was hurt again getting blasted by Chagaev on the ropes towards the end of the round: and the bell would not ring. The round probably went 30 seconds longer than it was supposed to, yet Lucas still survived and made it back to his corner.
The mistake was evident when the seventh round ended about 40 seconds early, a fair gesture, but a strange without doubt, as if Lucas was stopped when the bell should have already sounded, there would have been a serious problem.
Anyways, the fight continued and Chagaev continued to look like the fresher fighter, until the later rounds when Chagaev went back to his strategy he used at the beginning of the fight: sit back and let Lucas come to him. There was a problem, though, Ruslan did not have the steam on his punches that he had in the first half of the fight. His punches were moving Lucas, but not hurting him.
All of the sudden, with a minute left in the 10th round Browne had his moment. With Lucas up against the ropes, Chagaev was pressing hard to land a big shot on the Aussie. After missing with the straight left hand, Ruslan tried to throw a right hook: but Browne beat him to the punch, landing one of his own that sent Chagaev stumbling back and down, to the shock of many.
When Ruslan got up, you could tell that he did not have his senses there, and was in serious trouble. Browne went right back onto the attack once the fight resumed, and landed about five consecutive right hands that all landed behind the ear of Chagaev, further damaging him.
After another barrage of punches and with the ropes keeping Ruslan on his feet: the ref stepped in and stopped the bout to declare Lucas Browne the winner. This fight was terrific, with both men tasting the canvas and both having their moments: you can’t ask for much more in a heavyweight fight between two guys who can take and pack a punch. I had the fight scored 86-84 for Chagaev at the time of the stoppage. Browne most likely sensed he needed a knockout and got just what he needed.
Some will say Lucas Browne becomes the first heavyweight champ from Australia, but Browne is not a heavyweight champ; he is not even the WBA heavyweight champ. This win simply validates Browne as one of the several contenders in the division: which is far more significant than being the WBA regular champ.