By Tim Royner
Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) will be taking a risky fight next Saturday night against former WBA World heavyweight champion Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne (25-0, 22 KOs) on the 24th of March at the O2 Arena in London, England.
This is fight that could make or break the 29-year-old Whyte. If he beats Browne, it will help make his rematch with IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua a bigger fight. If Whyte gets beaten by the 38-year-old Browne, then he can forget about fighting AJ anytime soon.
The winner of this fight will still likely need to wait until 2019 before he gets a shot at Joshua, because he’s got other options for contests after his March 31st fight against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
HBO has picked up the Whyte-Browne fight and will be televising it in the States on their network this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Whyte vs. Browne fight will also be televised on Sky Sports in the UK.
Whyte, 29, believes that his better conditioning will help him beat the 38-year-old Browne, who might be coming into the fight heavier than normal. Browne typically weighs in the neighborhood of 260 lbs. for his fights, but he could come into this fight considerably above that weight. If Browne comes into the fight in the 280s, it might be difficult for Whyte to handle his punching power.
It’s going to be problem enough for Whyte to take the heavy shots from Brown in this fight. The only question is will Browne throw enough big punches to give Whyte problems? Sometimes, Browne is economical with his punches, and he lets his fights go too long before he starts putting his shots together. That would be a mistake for Browne to do that against Whyte, because he could wind up getting knocked out.
Whyte has had stamina problems over the years. That was a problem for him in his fights with Joshua and Dereck Chisora. Whyte has trimmed down a little. Whyte is still vulnerable to getting beaten, as we saw in his last fight against Robert Helenius last October. Whyte was hurt in the 2nd round by Helenius. Whyte still won the fight by a wide 12 round unanimous decision, but only because Helenius faded after the 2nd round.
”It does help to have a strong base,” Whyte said to skysports.com. ”A strong base is very important because if you look back in the day, heavyweights were small and they had to be talented, whereas nowadays a lot of guys are just big guys, they’ve either got one big punch, just like Lucas Browne. Got one big punch, he hasn’t got no great boxing skills,” Whyte said.
Browne isn’t supposed to win this fight. Whyte wouldn’t have chosen Browne as an opponent if he saw him as a threat to his path to a rematch against Joshua. A victory for Browne will put him in a good position to get a title shot against Joshua. There’s a lot of money to be made for Browne if he can get a fight against Joshua. You can bet that if Browne beats Whyte, his promoter Eddie Hearn will immediately push to get a rematch. Whyte can’t walk away from a loss to Browne without trying to avenge it. It would be critical for Whyte if he loses to Browne. A lot of boxing fans would like to see Whyte-Browne in a rematch if things don’t work out well for Whyte this Saturday night.
Browne has the punching power to beat Whyte, but perhaps not the youth and the activity level. Browne hasn’t kept himself busy I the last two years. Browne was out of boxing for 15 months following his 10th round TKO victory over Ruslan Chagaev in March 2016. Browne was suspended after testing positive for clenbuterol. Browne said he didn’t take the drug, but he ended up being stripped of his WBA heavyweight title by the World Boxing Association anyway. Browne didn’t have the luxury of using a contaminated meat excuse that has now being used to veer around suspensions.
Browne could beat Whyte if he’s able to sustain a fast enough pace to wear him down the way Anthony Joshua did in his 7th round knockout win in December 15. Joshua’s jab and right hand power was the key to him beating Whyte. Browne doesn’t have Joshua’s punching power, but he this hard enough to get him out of there if he can land enough shots. That’ll require some endurance for Browne. He can’t just throw a handful of shots and then disappear for the remainder of each round. To beat Whyte, you’ve got to take the fight to him and throw a lot of shots, because he has a pretty good chin.
On the Whyte-Browne undercard, British light heavyweight champion Frank Buglioni (21-2-1, 15 KOs) will be defending his title against unbeaten Callum Johnson (16-0, 11 KOs). This should be an interesting fight. Buglioni has only been beaten twice during his career to Fedor Chudinov and Sergey Khamitski. The 33-year-old Johnson has a recent 9th round knockout win over Willbeforce Shihepo, which was a step up fight for him. British lightweight champion Lewis Ritson (14-0, 8 KOs) will be defending his title against Scott Cardle (22-1-1, 7 KOs). Former heavyweight world title challenger Dereck Chisora (27-8, 19 KOs) will be fighting an opponent still to be determined. This could be a tune-up to get the 34-year-old Chisora ready for a much bigger fight against unbeaten prospect Joe Joyce (3-0, 3 KOs) on May 5 on the undercard of Tony Bellew vs. David Haye 2 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Chisora vs. Joyce will be televised on Sky Box Office. It’s still unknown if Chisora will take that risky fight or not. Joyce is a very good fighter, and he’s a little bit younger than Chisora at 32. Super middleweight Jamie Cox (24-1, 13 KOs) will be fighting an opponent yet to be named this Saturday night. Cox, 31, will also be fighting on the undercard of the Bellew-Haye 2 card on May 5th. His opponent for that fight date is John Ryder.