Lucas 'Big Daddy' Browne continued his march towards a potential world title shot last Friday, but was made to dig deep and earn his victory against the previously unbeaten Andriy Rudenko.
Browne is famed for his huge punching power, which coming into the fight last weekend had accounted for 17 of the 19 wins on his record. He is usually able to land the big right hand at will and his opponents crumble, although he is still yet to make the step up to elite level in the relatively thin heavyweight division.
Tougher test than predicted
Rudenko of Ukraine was not to be blown away like most of Browne's previous opponents and he showed a real determination to seize his opportunity.
Early on you would not have known that Rudenko had been inactive for nearly 16 months as he outworked the much slower Browne.
Rudenko landed nicely with his left hand and was the more active fighter early on. Browne seemed to be trying to walk his opponent down and wait for the right opportunity to land his big power shots, but they were few and far between in the early going.
Browne came into the fight more as it progressed and was able to land some big shots but Rudenko took them very well and showed what a durable opponent he is.
Both men tired badly near the end of the contest as it became a bit of a scrappy affair but Browne seemed to be the man in the ascendance.
The final bell drew a close to the fight with a mixed sense of who had won. The general consensus was that Browne had just done enough to claim the win but many on social media saw it the other way.
Just enough for victory
Browne was to be given the victory on the judges' scorecards as follows; 115-113, 116-112 and 117-112.
The scorecards seemed to be too wide in favour of Browne and he himself would probably admit that as he is an extremely honest boxer. His honesty was shown once more when he admitted that he wasn't happy with his performance.
He singled out his fitness as being a major area with which he wasn't happy and said that it would have to worked on.
Browne's lack of real boxing skill was shown up in this fight and many believe that it will ultimately cost him as he moves up in the sport. He did show some signs of improvement with better head movement in the opening rounds but he still has a lot to work on.
The claim of hall of famer Jeff Fenech that Browne punches harder than Mike Tyson was not to be supported by Browne's performance as he didn't ever seem to really trouble his opponent.
Browne claimed the vacant WBA Inter-Continental belt which should see his world ranking improve and possibly put him in line for a shot at the WBA world champion Ruslan Chagaev.
Wladimir Klitschko is of course the WBA Super world champion but the farcical system that the WBA operates allows for a lower version of world honours.
Another possible opponent for Browne could be the man to enter the ring with the aforementioned Klitschko last time out.
Alex Leapai, who fights out of Australia, would present a good domestic fight for Browne.
There is no doubting the power of 'Big Daddy' but he did put up a sluggish performance in Wolverhampton and will be hoping for much better next time out.
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