Joseph Parker holds a heavyweight title belt but, if we are being brutally honest right now, we will state that his reputation, since securing the strap, in a bout with Andy Ruiz, in December 2016, has really not flourished.
Yes, he’s defended the title, which was vacant when he and Ruiz wrestled for it, twice. Last May, he beat a late-innings sub, Razvan Cojanu via unanimous decision…Cojanu, who’d been stopped by Donovan Dennis in 2015. Then, in his most recent outing, Parker engaged in a fight that had many watchers wishing they’d not invested the time. The Parker vs. Hughie Fury fight was more of a “fight,” really, in that Fury was in defensive mode and Parker’s ability to track him down and make him pay for his reticence was not compelling. Via majority decision, Parker snagged the W…and so he will have another shot at not only holding on to that belt but actually living up to some of those glowing reviews pundits threw his way two years ago. HBO’s Max Kellerman put him on a small list of big-name prospects.
If the current game plan being discussed bears out, Parker, 25, would be in with a style clash that will perhaps better allow him to activate some of the skills and traits that intrigued Kellerman.
Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KOs), the burly ex-bar bouncer, has been sent a contract to fight Parker (24-0, 18 knockouts), in March, and told RingTV.com that he’s signed it. “Yeah, our side has agreed to terms. Just waiting on him,” said Browne, 38. “No site yet, I don’t believe.”
Browne might have to deal with a rust buildup, being that he has been busier fending off accusations and situations than rumbling. He downed journeyman Julius Long in his sole 2015 outing, and next met Ruslan Chagaev, a respectable but aged veteran, in March 2016. That was a fan-friendly tango, which saw Browne decked in round six before stopping Chagaev in round 10. Then, drama. Browne tested positive for a banned substance. He proclaimed his innocence. The positive kept him sidelined and the WBA “regular” strap that was up for grabs was taken off his waist and put up for grabs again. In his mos recent outing, in June, his lone go in 2017, he stopped 16-20 Matt Greer.
“I’m looking to have a quick hit out (a rust-shedder fight) in December or January. I don’t think it’s an issue though,” Browne said.
So, anyway, the first time the flagged chemical was clenbuterol. The second time, it was ostarine. To this day, Browne says he’s not a user.
“The one from the Chagaev fight, I was cleared on. I tested completely clean five days prior to the fight. Hair follicle analysis categorically said there was no clenbuterol in my system prior to Chechnya. The second was an over-the-counter supplement. My bad completely and I’ve learned from it.”
So, Browne’s thinking and hoping – heck, we all are – that the PED positives are in rear view mirror territory. If terms are all agreed upon, Browne can easily bury all the baggage. A win over Parker means he holds a strap, which would be coveted by collectors like WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder and/or IBF/WBA titlist Anthony Joshua.
“So I’m just waiting on Parker to agree to the deal. Fingers crossed. I certainly won’t go running like Hughie Fury or clinch all night like Cojanu,” said Browne, in closing. “It’ll be fireworks.”
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing