FRANK WARREN’S SCRAPBOOK – 9.3.16
We promised BoxNation viewers a rumbustious night in Grozny last weekend, and that’s exactly what you got.
A rare old heavyweight tear-up saw Sydneysider Lucas Browne become the first Aussie to annexe a version of the world title and bring a touch of old spice to a division that may be further fragmented but is now brimming with potentially exciting match-ups for our further entertainment.
We now have a very contrasting quartet of heavyweight champions with the still unbeaten ‘Big Daddy’ Browne joining Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Charles Martin all dipping their ladles into the alphabet soup.
Britain can actually claim share of Brown’s victory as he was trained for his fight against Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev by Nigel Benn and steered by mentor Ricky Hatton.
The heavily tattooed baldie who once made a living in MMA and as a nightclub bouncer, bowled over holder Chagaev for the so-called regular version of the WBA belt, while Fury is considered the WBA’s ‘super’’ champion. He also holds the WBO version.
It’s all a bit confusing but you’ve got to take your hat off to 36-year-old Browne. I didn’t fancy him at going into this fight. He faced a really hostile atmosphere in the Russian republic of Chechnya where violence so endemic he needed armed guards when he strolled the streets.
But he went in there, showed his muscle and mettle and did it the hard way, getting cut, climbing off the floor and then clobbering Chagaev for a tenth round stoppage that clearly left the onlooking one-time warlord Chechnyan president somewhat miffed.
Some of those other grizzled faces at ringside didn’t look best pleased either as groggy Chagaev staggered up after executing a backwards somersault. You certainly wouldn’t want to meet them down a dark alleyway in downtown Grozny.
But it was an absolutely correct decision by veteran South African referee Stan Christodoulou, who at 72 was only marginally younger than the combined ages of the combatants, to stop the fight.
The colourful Browne adds a new dimension to a heavyweight vibrant heavyweight division.
You could perm one from half a dozen or more for some sort of title action.
Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua will settle their IBF dispute in April but as well as Fury, Klitschko, Wilder and Browne we now have the new WBA ‘interim’ title holder Luis Ortiz waiting to come on stage.
Also in the wings are such understudies as Alexander Povetkin, Alexander Ustinov, David Haye, Fres Oquendo and even dear old David Price and Dereck Chisora still hoping to catch crumb from the heavyweight table.
Not to mention the young New Zealander Joseph Parker, who I believe may well emerge eventually as the best of the lot.
Of course Fury is still holds pole position but I am baffled as to why he and his advisers have allowed themselves to be boxed into a corner over the return with Wladimir Klitschko.
As it was a mandatory defence by the Ukrainian there was actually no real requirement for a return clause.
But because agreed to it Fury lost his IBF belt when by rights he should be able to pick and choose his next opponent instead of getting bogged down by the vexing negotiations as to when and where he and Klitschko will meet again.
The world heavyweight scene is buzzing at the moment and Fury should be right in making the most of it.
Tomorrow: More from Frank Warren’s Scrapbook