By Anthony Cocks
Former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne 25-0 (22) is in the mix to land a shot at the WBO heavyweight title held by Kiwi Joseph Parker 24-0 (18) in what would be one of the biggest trans-Tasman boxing bouts in history.
“I’ve heard that his trainer, his promoter, his matchmaker, have all said ‘yes, no problem’, it’s actually Parker himself that’s holding it up,” Browne told AAP on Tuesday.
If the fight can be made it will likely happen in March next year in either Parker’s home city of Auckland or the larger markets of Sydney or Melbourne in Australia, with Melbourne believed to be the frontrunner.
Browne’s manager Matt Clark says that the deal is signed, sealed and delivered on their end, with just Parker’s signature required to made the fight a reality.
“They’ve offered us a deal, we’ve agreed, we’re ready to go,” Clarke told AAP. “So if the fight doesn’t happen it rests solely on Joseph Parker.”
One minor obstacle is that Browne isn’t ranked in the top 15 by the WBO, but Clarke says this can be easily navigated.
“If needs be and he [Browne] has to go and fight for some sort of WBO regional title, we’ll look at doing that,” Clark said.
An extra fight between now and March might be a blessing in disguise for Browne, who has only fought once – a two round blowout of journeyman Matthew Greer in June – since being stripped of the WBA title he won from Ruslan Chagaev in March last year by 10th round TKO after testing positive to clenbuterol.
The WBA subsequently absolved him of any wrongdoing but a second positive drug test, this time for ostarine contained in a legal, over-the-counter supplement, put the brakes on his career once again.
As a result the 38-year-old has only fought once in the past 20 months and would welcome the chance to “get the cobwebs out again” before stepping up to world class level against Parker.
“I now unfortunately look like a two-times drug cheat without really doing much at all,” Browne admitted.
“The first time with Chechnya that wasn’t me. The second time was my own doing. I went into a shop and walked out with it and I didn’t check it properly.”
The sporting rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is long and varied and covers every sporting code imaginable: rugby union, cricket, rugby league, soccer, netball, basketball and more. What has been missing in recent years is a genuine boxing rivalry, a void that could be filled by Parker vs Browne for the WBO heavyweight championship of the world.
Browne sees a fight with Parker as the perfect opportunity to get his name in the mix amongst the best heavyweights in the world.
“I think Parker is probably the weakest out of the three and I’d love to capitalise on that,” said Browne, a resident of Perth in Western Australia who trains out of Sydney on the east coast.
Meanwhile Parker is still in the mix for a shot at unifying his WBO title with current WBA, IBF and IBO world champion Anthony Joshua 20-0 (20) of Britain, a fight that will take precedence over a voluntary title defence. If that fight can be made, all other offers will likely find their way into the recycling bin very quickly.
HORN DISMISSES TALK OF CRAWFORD BOUT, WARNS CORCORAN NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE HIM
WBO welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn 17-0-1 (11) has brushed off talk of a fight with former undisputed world junior welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford 32-0 (23) after the Puerto Rican sanctioning body announced they would be installing the former 140-pound standout as their number one contender in the 147-pound division after the 30-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska officially relinquished his world titles and revealed his plans to campaign at the higher weight class.
"Bob Arum wants one of his fighters to hold on to that belt,” Horn told reporters on Friday. “He’s got a two-fight deal with me, so Terence Crawford would be my last one. It depends if we are going to renegotiate a contract or whether he wants Terence to win because he’s a Top Rank fighter.”
The 29-year-old understands the business of boxing and knows that any slip-up now will send his career hurtling backwards.
“I’m not going to look too far ahead, I’ve got to take care of Gary [Corcoran] first,” said Horn, referring to his next opponent who he meets at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on 13 December in the first defence of the world title he won from Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in front of 51,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last July.
Britain’s Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran holds a record of 17-1 (7) and is ranked at number 10 by the WBO. Although he is not known as a puncher, the 26-year-old Corcoran is an aggressive, come-forward fighter who will be willing to oblige Horn in a firefight.
Much like Horn when he met Pacquiao, this is Corcoran’s big opportunity to break through to the bigtime.
"He’s told me he’s going to take this belt from me so that’s got to be my focus,” continued Horn. "Then I’ll see who’s the number one contender I have to take on next year.
“Everyone should learn not to underestimate me. I train so hard for these fights and no-one’s going to take this belt away from me cheaply."
Alex “The Lionheart” Leapai 31-7-3 (25), who has been training alongside Horn, is expected to appear on the undercard. Perth heavyweight Roger Izonritei 12-6 (11), originally from Nigeria, has been mentioned as a possible opponent for the former world heavyweight title challenger.
Also on the undercard will be featherweight Nathaniel “Cheeky” May 18-1 (10) who takes on undefeated Brazilian Aelio Mesquita 16-0 (14). The 22-year-old May, from Bunbury in Western Australia, is ranked IBF #11 and hold the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Australasian featherweight titles.
BIVOL BREAKS THROUGH AGAINST BROADHURST
It wasn’t the result they were hoping for but Trent Broadhurst’s American manager Peter Kahn is philosophical about his charge’s first round loss to Russian powerhouse Dmitry Bivol 12-0 (10) at the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Saturday night.
"Dmitry Bivol is the real deal," said Kahn on Facebook. "Devastating loss for Trent Broadhurst in his first world title fight. Not how he saw this fight playing out. Bivol caught Broadhurst with a big right hand with one second to go in round one. Although his ego is bruised, his health is fine and Broadhurst will return stronger."
Broadhurst 20-2 (12) was taking a big step up in class against the well-schooled Bivol who, despite his limited professional experience, holds an amateur win-loss record of 268-15.
Bivol’s performance has made Kahn a believer.
“Trent was not out of place. He was holding his own. He got caught. Bivol is a class act. Not sure I can see anyone beating him,” Kahn said.
"Probably the best light heavyweight in the world right now."
Broadhurst was boxing along nicely in the opening round as both boxers sized each other up. It was Bivol who took advantage though sending a right cross slicing through Broadhurst’s guard and catching him on the point of the chin, sending the 28-year-old Aussie crashing to the canvas.
Bivol’s promoter Andrey Rabinsky said the result of the HBO-televised fight was inevitable.
“The Australian is a good boxer, but he had no chance against Dmitry. He was afraid of him," Ryabinsky said. "Dmitry is better, he read the opponent, and it was clear in the first round how it would end. Dmitry is definitely the leader [in his weight division]. He has the opportunity to collect a lot of belts, if not all of them. Someone might be able to give Bivol substantial resistance – I just don’t see anyone at the moment who could do it."
It was the perfect homecoming for Townsville cruiserweight Mark "Bam Bam" Flanagan 23-5 (16) who bounced back from an unsuccessful world title bid earlier this year with a savage fourth round knockout of Pablo Matias Magrini 19-3-1 (15) at the Entertainment Centre in Townsville, Queensland on Saturday night.
A perfectly timed right uppercut after a break caught the 38-year-old Argentine on the point of the chin and sent him pitching face first to the canvas, out cold. Flanagan retained his WBA Oceania 200-pound title with the victory.
"I’m hoping that was enough for me to get back into the rankings to fight for the WBA world title and if that wasn’t enough, give me another guy," said Flanagan, who lost on points to Dennis Lebedev for the WBA Super world cruiserweight title in Russia last July.
"Choose them for me, I don’t care who it is, I’ll fight him. I’ve got state titles, Australian titles, knockouts of the year, regional titles in the IBO, WBA, WBO.
"I just want a world title now, I don’t need more belts in my house. I want a world title. That’s what I need, that’s what I want."
The 27-year-old admitted that the crowd support electrified him and while he wanted to cut loose and put on a show, he knew he had to bide his time and not get reckless.
"He was trying to set me up with the dip and grab, but I just had to time that short uppercut. Two times I missed, but that third one I got him – it was all over mate."
Also on the Angelo Di Carlo promoted card young welterweight hotshot Liam Paro 11-0 (7) had an easy night against Komkit Chanawong 1-5 of Thailand, outclassing him over five rounds to win by scores of 50-44 and 50-45 twice.
Southpaw Paro had a successful amateur career and was drafted in to Jeff Horn’s training camp as he prepared for Manny Pacquiao earlier this year.
The Townsville product has received big raps from no less than three division world champion and Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Fenech.
“The first time Liam gets a world title fight, he’ll become a world champion,” Fenech predicted in a recent interview with the Townsville Bulletin.
“In boxing you have to stay hungry and you have to stay focused and with Liam I really think he has all the ingredients.
“I’m convinced he’ll be one of the Aussies who make it to the top. For me, he’s the next Jeff Horn.”
BIG IN JAPAN
On the same night at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, Randall Rayment 8-4 (3) came up short against world ranked heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto 18-1 (10) going own in five in a battle for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title.
Sydneysider Rayment, who holds a decision win over Herman Ene Purcell this past July, simply couldn’t match the speed and movement of the former K-1 fighter who ended proceedings with a right cross in the fifth.
The WBO #7 has his sights firmly set on New Zealand’s WBO world champion Joseph Parker and says he doesn’t care where that fight takes place.
“I’ll go anywhere at any time to challenge Joseph Parker in quest of his WBO heavyweight belt,” said Fujimoto after the fight.
The 31-year-old from Osaka might need to take a number, with heavyweights the world over lining up to get a crack at Parker who is widely perceived to be the weakest of the three recognized heavyweight titleholders.
RANDY PETALCORIN RETURNS TO MELBOURNE
Former interim WBA junior flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin 27-2-1 (20) is back in action in Melbournetown this Friday night when he headlines a Peter Maniatis card at the Malvern Town Hall against Oscar Raknafa 13-15 (5) of Indonesia over 10 rounds.
"Friday night is big fight for me," said Petalcorin of the Philippines. "I will not underestimate Raknafa. I know he is tough and he defeated former WBA world champion Muhammed Rachman and also lasted the distance with current WBO champion Kosei Tanaka. It’s a tough fight but I trained hard and I am ready."
The 25-year-old southpaw, who is currently ranked IBF #3, WBC #6 and WBO #12 in the world at 108-pounds, has his sights set on IBF kingpin Milan Melindo 37-2 (13) if he can get past Raknafa unscathed.
"We are not looking past Raknafa," said Peter Maniatis, who co-manages Petalcorin along with Jim Claude Manangquil.
"It’s going to be a rough, tough fight for Randy, but if he wins impressively Randy is rated IBF #3 and we would like a shot at IBF world champion Milan Melindo. I think that fight could draw in Australia with Melindo and Petalcorin."
The IBF number one and number two positions at junior flyweight are currently vacant, putting Petalcorin in a prime position to challenge the 29-year-old Filipino champion who goes by the nickname “Method Man”.
"MR FRENZY" HEADLINES IN THE SHIRE
Hard-hitting lightweight Kye “Mr Frenzy” MacKenzie 17-1 (15) meets Kiwi southpaw Nort Beauchamp 15-1 (3) this Friday night at the Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club in Cronulla, Sydney, New South Wales for the interim WBO Asia Pacific title on a Jeff Potauaine card.
MacKenzie, who turned pro in 2012, hasn’t been the distance in his last 13 fights dating back to June 2013. Last December MacKenzie handed Dylan Emery his first loss when he stopped him in the fourth round to claim the national 140-pound title despite giving up two-and-a-half pounds in weight.
Also on the card will be full-time rugby league player and part-time boxer Paul Gallen 7-0 (4) who takes on debutant Australian-based Fijian Puna Rasaubale in a six round heavyweight clash.
Gallen is the captain of the NRL club the Cronulla Sharks where the versatile 5-foot-11, 36-year-old plays in the forward pack. Since 2014 he has taken up professional boxing in the rugby league off-season, fighting two-to-three times each summer.