Former Aussie world heavyweight champ aims high again
AUSTRALIA'S former world heavyweight boxing champion Lucas Browne has a new trainer and a renewed focus ahead of his big fight on the Gold Coast on Friday night against giant American Julius Long.
And he says a break from his British promoter and all-time boxing great, Ricky Hatton, will help him kick-start his way back to the top of the sport.
"Big Daddy'' Browne has a big battle on Friday in more ways than one - Long is a whopping 216cm tall and 130kg. Power-puncher Browne stands 195cm and will come into the Convention Centre ring at Broadbeach at about 120kg.
The bout is a rematch of their 2015 brawl at the Melbourne Pavilion, where Long gave the former bouncer from Perth plenty of problems before losing in round nine.
In his next fight, Browne became Australia's first world heavyweight champ when he stopped Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA crown in Grozny, Russia.
But Browne was subsequently stripped of the title after controversially failing a test for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
The father of three is coming back from the first loss of his career, a devastating sixth-round KO in March against hulking Englishman Dillian Whyte.
Browne partly attributes the result to his lack of condition after just two rounds of boxing in two years.
Browne will go into Friday night's fight with Perth trainer Jay Gray in his corner. Gray replaces Sydney's Rodney Williams, who guided Browne to the world title.
"I was training with Rodney in Sydney and he's a good trainer but I've decided to stay in Perth for my fight preparations now because it allows me to stay home with my family rather than spend weeks away,'' Browne said.
"It's a much better situation.''
He said in his first fight against Long, the first right-hand punch he threw resulted in a broken thumb when it landed on top of his opponent's head.
Browne said his training for Friday's fight had revolved around a high level of fitness and "throwing punches in bunches''.
He plans to regain his place as one of the world's top heavyweights but says he has to score a "few devastating wins'' and sever ties with Hatton, the blood and guts battler who punched Kostya Tszyu into retirement before becoming a leading manager.
"My deal with Hatton ends in January,'' Browne said. "It has always been a thorn in my side. It started as a three-year deal and it became seven years. I want to do my own thing now.
"People think I should be a multi-millionaire considering the big fights I've had but that is so far from the truth it's not funny.
"In Australia the most I have ever made from a fight is $25,000, which isn't much for a guy who has done what I have. I'm 39 now so there's no time to waste. I just want to win some big fights and retire happy.''