07 March 2016
by AAP

Australia's Lucas Browne wins heavyweight boxing world title

Australia’s Lucas Browne recovered from being cut and knocked down in the sixth round to stop Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th.

Australia has its first world heavyweight boxing champion with Sydney’s Lucas Browne scoring a 10th-round stoppage of WBA regular champion Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Chechnya.

Sydneysider Browne showed enormous heart, coming back from a disastrous sixth round in which he was cut and knocked down by the southpaw from Uzbekistan in his second title defence.

“I know I’ve got a good chin. I obviously got rocked by something silly with his left hand, but I think I came back quite well,” Browne said.

The 36-year-old former MMA fighter and bouncer somehow survived the last 30 seconds of the round despite being wobbled a couple of times. The Australian dug deep and landed several right uppercuts in the seventh, in a stirring comeback and took the round.

Chagaev, 37, regained his composure and probably shaded the next two rounds, but Browne sent shockwaves through the division in the 10th. He caught Chagaev with a crunching right to the head inside the last minute of the round, depositing the champion on the canvas.

Sensing an opportunity to finish the fight there and then, Browne capitalised on his opportunity, landing several more right hand shots to the head before experienced South African referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped the fight.

“Rocky is a movie, but that was a real-life Rocky moment,” Browne’s manager Matt Clarke said. “He was trailing in the fight, that was clearly obvious. We asked him to dig deep and pull something out and he did.”

Promoted by Britain’s former two-division world champion Ricky Hatton, Browne is now poised to take advantage of his new lofty status.

“It [the win] does really put the cherry on top,” said Browne, who will get his title belt later. “It moves me into better positions for bigger fights, bigger money fights. But also just the history factor, it makes me proud of being Australian.”

Browne improved his record to 24-0, 21 KOs and Chagaev dropped to 34-3-1, 21 KOs.

Browne showed he was much more than a big puncher as he delivered on his pre-fight promise to box and move. He pinged the champion with jabs through the early rounds and landed the occasional right hand.

Chagaev worked his way into the fight through the middle rounds, landing some good shots to the body and tagging Browne with some good left hands.

Browne wins the so-called regular version of the WBA belt, while Britain’s Tyson Fury is considered the WBA’s “unified” champion, since he also holds the WBO version.