The O2 Arena in London was the site of today’s heavyweight showdown between Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne. The contest matched two men with kickboxing and MMA backgrounds, both of whom had been suspended for “juicing.” Whyte was suspended for two years when a banned stimulant was found in his system following a 2012 fight with Hungary’s Sandor Balogh. Browne’s problems were more recent.
Whyte was a 3/1 favorite in man-to-man betting, odds that in hindsight seemed way too short. At stake was a WBC trinket that wouldn’t be worth mentioning save that it entitled the bearer (in theory) to get the next crack at Deontay Wilder.
After a feeling-out round, Whyte seized control. Moments into the second stanza, an overhand right opened a cut over Browne’s left eye. It continued to bleed in the ensuing rounds, smearing Brown’s face, chest, and arms with blood, but Whyte would have assuredly come out on top, cut or no cut. It was simply a case of youth being served. He was almost 10 years younger than his Australian opponent who turns 39 next month. Browne, carrying 264 1/2 pounds, was seemingly running out of gas before Whyte lowered the boom.
A combination followed by a smashing left hook brought the fight to a finish in round six. Browne went down for the count. Paramedics attended to him before he left the ring.
The Jamiaca-born Whyte, who has resided in the U.K. since the age of 12, improved his ledger to 23-1 (17). His lone defeat came at the hands of Anthony Joshua in December of 2015. In that fight, he visibly shook Joshua with a two-punch combination in the second round, but Joshua came back to stop him in the seventh. It’s inevitable that they will meet again. The question is “when”?
Lucas Browne won the WBA “regular” world heavyweight title on March 5, 2016 in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia, getting off the deck to stop Ruslan Chagaev in the 11th frame. An Australian reporter called it “one of Australia’s proudest ever sporting moments.” But then his post-fight urine test, both the A and B samples, turned up positive for clenbuterol.
Browne had only one fight in the interim between Chagaev and Dillian Whyte, scoring a sixth round stoppage over a 40-year-old palooka from Missouri who had lost nine straight going in. He was undefeated in 25 pro fights before tonight, but Whyte exposed him and his future looks dim assuming that he wants to continue his career.
There were two noteworthy fights on the undercard.
The U.K. bookmakers made Callum Johnson a small favorite over defending British light heavyweight champion Frank Buglioni, notwithstanding the fact that Johnson, 16-0 going in, had defeated only four fighters with winning records and was making his first start in 18 months, but the price-makers knew more than the punters. Buglioni, one win removed from claiming a Lonsdale belt, was sent packing in the opening round. A left hook marked the beginning of the end and Johnson tagged him with few more harsh blows in rapid succession before the referee intervened.
In a fight that was all-action for as long as it lasted, Lewis Ritson (15-0, 9 KOs) successfully defended his British lightweight title with a second round stoppage of former title-holder Scott Cardle (22-2-1). Cardle had the best of it in the opening round but it quickly became obvious that Ritson had heavier artillery and Cardle was in dire straits when his trainer Joe Gallagher threw in the towel. Based on this performance, Ritson is a name to remember.
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