The history of boxing has seen it all, turn arounds, comebacks, feel good stories and shocks. In fact we saw all of those earlier today when the scary looking but genuinely affable Lucas Browne (24-0, 21) scored one of the early shocks of the year, and stopped Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21) to claim the WBA “regular” Heavyweight title.
Chagaev, the only Asian Heavyweight champion in history, was heavily favoured to record the second defense of the title but instead found himself being the latest victim of the Australian who had put in real work to prepare for his opportunity. That preparation was shown at the weigh in, when Browne came in at a career low, whilst Chagaev came in close to a career high.
Not only was Browne in great shape but he was also looking like a man with a clever game plan and began the bout boxing on the back foot, making the most of his reach advantage and easing himself in to the contest. The opening couple of rounds acted as a chance for Browne to relax and get his feet set for the bout, and although the pace was slow it was certainly not a problem for either man. Whilst Browne acquitted himself well, Chagaev was landing the better punches however they weren't having much effect and he wasn't able to slow the challenger's movement.
In rounds 3 and 4 the pace changed with Browne stepping up the pace and forcing Chagaev to take shots, particularly uppercutts and body shots. Again Chagaev was landing the better blows but Browne was starting to out work the champion and the intelligence of Browne was showing through as he went around the guard several times.
The higher tempo continued in to round 5 as both landed some of their best shots up to that point. Both managed to have some success with their jabs, but it was the counter straights that seemed to be the more telling, with Chagaev getting some very solid lefts through the guard, whilst Brown managed to lands his own thudding right hands.
Chagaev's power hadn't had too much effect in the first 5 rounds, though changed in round 6 with the defending champion upping the pace and landing some very solid left hands as Browne began to look like a man who was tiring. With Brown'e defense falling apart Chagaev managed to find a left that clean and dropped Browne who seemed wobbly when he got to his feet. With Browne clearly not recovered Chagaev went on the attack and wobbled Browne again whilst trying to force a stoppage. The round, which seemed to go on for a much longer period than it should have, ended with Chagaev landing a combination after the bell and it looked like the end was nigh for Browne.
The minute rest between rounds 6 and 7 seemed to be enough for Browne to recover his senses and he came out with bad intentions, letting his hands go early with some savage uppercutts. The uppercutts seemed to get Chagaev's respect, and forced the champion to think twice about what he was doing. It was a great change in tactic from Browne who seemed to realise that he needed to gamble. It did however almost back fire with Chagaev stiffening the legs and hurting Browne late in the round. Well we say late in the round, the bell actually went with 42 seconds left and may well have saved Browne from being stopped late in the round whilst blood was dripping down his face from a number of cuts that had begin to form.
Browne again showed his great recuperative powers at the start of round 8 as he landed some solid right hands. The round however was a mostly quiet round with both looking happy to catch their breath after what had been a couple of very intense rounds. The intensity was again relatively low ion rounds 9 for the most part, but both had their moments, with Chagaev landing a fantastic uppercutt and Browne landing some solid right hands. There was however a feeling that both were visibly tiring.
After the two slow rounds the action picked up in round 10 with Browne landing some clubbing rights early on whilst Chagaev managed to land a very clean left. It seemed like the left was going to be the start of something from Chagaev but the the champion couldn't follow up at all and it took some time before he landed another shot of note. Sadly for Chagaev the next left he threw with bad intentions was countered with a wonderful right hand from Browne which dropped Chagaev hard. The Uzbek took his time to recover his feet but eventually got up, looking lost and confused. Browne charged in looking for the finish and unloaded shot, after shot, after shot on a bewildered Chagaev who was, eventually, saved by the referee.
For the 37 year old Chagaev this is almost certainly the end. There was some magic in what he did at times, but he looked like a fighter who had little stamina, little intensity and couldn't keep an assault going. The once very talented fighter now looks like a man who is likely to retire. For Browne however the “Cinderella Man” story is complete and the 36 year old, who turned professional at 29, now has a great chance to cash in on his career.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.