In a surprisingly entertaining heavyweight battle, Australian slugger Lucas Browne scored a big upset win in stopping defending WBA champ Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th-round in Grozny, Russia. Browne, who had been wobbled in the 5th and heavily decked himself in the 6th, came back to pull out a right hand from nowhere which dropped the durable if aging Chagaev in round-ten.
The right hand knocked Chagaev down hard and heavy and though he beat the count, the relentless follow-up barrage from “Big Daddy” gave referee Stanley Christadolou no option but to dive in. Browne, now 24-0(21) made history as the first Australian to win a version of the world heavyweight crown. Chagaev is now 34-3-1(21) and though he is only a year older than Browne at age 37, it could be a long road back.
The fight began in a surprising manner, as Browne, known as a rough and tough brawler, boxed smartly and patiently on the back foot. Southpaw Chagaev, not looking in the best of physical shape but still tank-like, trudged forwards. The first four rounds were hardly crammed with highlights, but this changed in the 5th when a fight broke out. Wobbled by a left hand to the top of the head, Browne was hurt. Then, in the 6th-round that thrilled the crowd, Chagaev decked his challenger with an overhand left to the head. A body shot preceded the knockdown shot and Browne, cut badly above the left eye, looked all done.
Showing raw courage, Browne took plenty of punches but he somehow took it all and even fought back. Browne came back well in the 7th, landing a series of right uppercuts on the champion. The two were now trading and one of the most entertaining heavyweight title fights for some months was underway. Strangely, the bell came around 45-seconds early to end this session.
The 8th and 9th were quiet, with Browne, now tired, perhaps more so than Chagaev who was also feeling the pace, getting back to his boxing. Then, in the 10th, Browne suddenly and without warning pulled out that right hand that sent Chagaev crashing to the mat – even Browne appeared to be surprised. The finishing barrage was punishing and Chagaev can have no complaints over the stoppage.
An amazing win for Browne, a man who the critics said was not in Chagaev’s class. The heavyweight division had a pretty big shake-up tonight and Browne can now deservedly feature in more big, money earning fights.