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Joseph Parker vs. Lucas Browne in the works for August

Image: Joseph Parker vs. Lucas Browne in the works for August

By Charles Brun: Negotiations have started between former heavyweight champions Joseph Parker and Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne for a fight pegged for mid-August in New Zealand.

Parker (27-2, 21 K.O.s) wants to fight three times in 2020, and by facing the 41-year-old Browne (29-2, 25 K.O.s), it’ll help him achieve that goal.

Right now, former WBO champion Parker can’t face any of the big names in the heavyweight division because of the pandemic. In the meantime, Parker and his team want to put on fights against local fighters like Browne and Junior Fa.

Four years ago, Browne briefly held the WBA heavyweight title after stopping Ruslan Chagaev in the 0th round in March 2016 in Grozny, Russia. Browne was later stripped of his WBA title after failing a drug test. Since then, Browne’s career has gone downhill with him suffering losses to Dillian Whyte and Dave Allen.

The defeat to Allen was a surprise, as he’s a British domestic level heavyweight, and not considered a top contender.

Lucas Browne with an 80% K.O. percentage

“The way things are at the moment is it’s going to be a while before we get some big fights back near the U.K. and the U.S., ” said Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry to Boxing Social. “When I say big fights, I mean 12-to-15,000 people in the arena. We’re looking at opponents at the moment.

“Lucas Browne has been a guy that is a well-known campaigner on the world circuit and held a world title. He’s Australia’s most successful heavyweight. Sure, he’s probably not the fighter he was three years ago, but he’s a guy with very heavy hands.

“His record is 29-2 with an over 80 percent knockout percentage. So he’s got very heavy hands. I think Joe’s knockout percentage is close to 70, so we know there’s a lot of power there. Over the last three years, we’ve been closed to doing a fight with Lucas Browne,” said Barry.

Browne can punch with either hand, but his hand speed seems to have dropped off in the last four years. He was never fast of hand, to begin with, but he appears to have lost some speed due to his age.

Parker will be criticized if he faces Browne because he’s not been fighting elite level heavyweights since his loss to Dillian Whyte in 2018.

In Parker’s last three fights, he’s beaten these lower-level heavyweights:

  • Alexander Flores
  • Alex Leapai
  • Shawndell Winters

Image: Joseph Parker vs. Lucas Browne in the works for August

Parker vs. Browne in mid-August

“You might recall when we were doing the negotiations with the Anthony Joshua fight, we had a signed contract to fight Lucas Browne,” said Barry.”I think the stars are aligning, and the borders between New Zealand and Australia are beginning to open up.

“So everything works for us [Parker to be fighting an Australian fighter, and Lucas Browne at the moment, he fits the bill very, very well. David [Higgins] and I talk daily. Eddie Hearn and Frank are on board with this fight.

“We’re looking to do the fight somewhere around mid-August, and if we’re able to pull this off, it’ll go a long way towards putting our plan this year back in place. We had one fight in 2019 [against Alex Leapai]. Our plan this year was for Joe to fight three times.

“We had that knockout win over Shawndell Winters at the end of February. If we can put this fight [Parker vs. Browne] together at the end of August, there’s a very good possibility that we’ll fight in early December. Joe will get three fights in 2020.

“The year looked like it was going to be a wash, but we’re going to be one of the few guys that kept their plan in place. We’re excited about that, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make that happen,” said Barry.

Fighting Browne is better than nothing, but Parker needs to start stepping it up against better fighters. He’s got a built-in excuse for fighting Browne, but that doesn’t explain why Parker has had three soft fights in a row against Winders, Leapai, and Flores.

The fans didn’t mind Parker facing Flores in confidence-builder, but it’s now getting ridiculous with him using up two years of his career taking tune-ups. When you see a fighter using two entire years of their careers trying to rebuild against fodder level opposition, you have to wonder.

Junior Fa an option for Parker in December

“In a perfect world, that would be the perfect fight,” said Barry on a fight between Parker and Junior Fa. “Junior Fa is a guy who has moved very well through the ranks. He’s ranked #6 in the world with the WBO. Joe, of course, is ranked #2.

“So for a country like New Zealand to have two fighters in the top 10 in the heavyweight division with the WBO is nothing short of remarkable. They have watched what we’ve done with Joe over the years, how we’ve maneuvered him through the sanctioning bodies.

“He’s done an excellent job. He’s not the finished product. But he’s an undefeated guy, and his team has been very patient with him. After 19 fights, this is the challenge that he needs, I believe, at this particular stage in his career.

“I remember when Joe was 19-0, we were fighting Carlos Takam for the #1 position with the IBF, and that was a huge step up fight at the time for Joe,” said Barry. ”

Parker vs. Junior Fa (19-0, 10 K.O.s) will attack a lot of interest from boxing fans in New Zealand, as both guys are from there. Fa is ranked high with the World Boxing Organization, and he’ll give Parker a good test.

Fans won’t give Parker nearly as much grief for fighting Fa as they will Lucas Browne, but they’ll still dump on him. Fa isn’t seen as a great heavyweight by fans. He’s a guy with an unbeaten record built on wins over no-name opposition.

Image: Joseph Parker vs. Lucas Browne in the works for August

Parker fought Fa four times in the amateurs

“The other thing about the Junior Fa fight is, the two of them have so much history,” said Barry on Parker, having fought Fa in the amateurs. “They’ve boxed four times in the amateurs with two wins each.

“It’s a fight [Parker vs. Fa] that would generate a lot of interest in new Zealand. It’s a fight that’s not going to set the world on fire in the U.K. or in the U.S., but it’s a fight that has a big following and a lot of interest in New Zealand.

“And it’s a fight that would be great for the sport and fans. It would be a great fight for the boxing fans, and it would be a great way for our team to finish the year to get our camp back together,” said Barry.

The bad thing about Parker facing Fa is that if he loses to him, his career is going to be pretty much over. Parker already lost to Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua in consecutive fights in 2018.

Additionally, Parker struggled to defeat the light hitting Hughie Fury in 2017. A lot of fans believe that Parker was given a gift win over Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2016 in New Zealand. It appeared that Ruiz had done enough to deserve the win, but he ended up on the short end of a controversial decision.

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