Unbeaten heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne faces WBA “regular” heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev at the Akhmat Arena in Grozny, Chechnya on March 5.
Australia has never had a world champion in the heavyweight division, but the 36-year-old from Sydney aims to change that by ripping the WBA crown away from the experienced Uzbek. Browne has been the mandatory challenger for the title since February, but has had to wait patiently for a shot due to Puerto Rico’s Fres Oquendo being granted a rematch with Chagaev.
That return was scrapped in October when Oquendo suffered an injury.
“I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I’m fighting for the WBA title and I fully intend to become Australia’s first ever heavyweight world champion,” said Browne, 23-0 (20 KOs). “Make no mistake, I’m going over to Grozny to knock Ruslan Chagaev out. I’m not interested in leaving the fight in the hands of the judges so I’m going to bring my two judges with me, my left hand and my right hand.
“I’ve already started the process of turning my body into a machine and I’m going to destroy whatever is in front of me. Travelling overseas to fight doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’ve done it many times in my career and at the end of the day it’ll be just me and Chagaev (below) in the ring.
“I’ve got fans all over the world, but this is going to be one for the Australian fight fans. We have had a bad run with Aussie boxers overseas but I’m probably the only one that wins consistently away from home. I’m going to become our first heavyweight champion on March 5 and I can’t wait to have the support of our entire nation in my corner!
“I can’t thank Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions enough for getting me the opportunity. For one reason or another, this fight has been hard to make and I have to praise Ricky and his team for their hard work.”
Matt Clark, Browne’s manager, added: “This is a historic moment in Australian boxing. Lucas Browne joins Bill Squires, Bill Lang, Kali Meehan and Alex Leapai as the only Aussies to fight for the heavyweight title.
“We know the challenge ahead of us as Chagaev is a great fighter, but we feel he’s ready to be taken. We’ve been waiting patiently for this fight to materialise and it’s well worth the wait.
“It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere in Grozny and we are looking forward to putting on a great show and making Australian boxing history.”