Alex Leapai isn’t the only Australian boxer out to create history in Europe this weekend, with big-punching Lucas Browne fancied to end a 122-year wait.
Unbeaten “Big Daddy” Browne fights for the Commonwealth heavyweight title, a belt no Aussie has held since 1892. He faces Eric Martel Bahoeli in Sheffield.
The Ricky Hatton-promoted 35-year old has a good following in Britain having fought there three times, including a stoppage win over Sheffield’s own Richard Towers last November.
“The UK fans have always been awesome. They have always given me a warm welcome and I’ve very grateful for that,” said Lucas, 19-0 (17 KOs).
“I beat Richard Towers, but we’ve remained friends and I don’t think any of his fans bear a grudge against me. I hope as many people come out as possible and support me."
Browne, looking to break into the World Boxing Council’s top 10, has his sights on a domestic showdown with Leapai later this year.
Browne doesn’t expect Leapai to upset the odds against world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in Germany this weekend, although he acknowledged the Queenslander “has a puncher’s chance”.
"I would love to fight Alex and once and for all sort out who the best in Oz is," he said.
First Browne must take care of Bahoeli, 10-3 (7 KOs), who believes his speed will be key.
“Browne is a hard puncher but I think I’m too fast for him,” the 32-year-old Canadian said.
Browne has fought nearly all of his career out of Perth before moving back to Sydney in January to get better training.
Browne came in at 123.8kg at yesterday's weigh-in while Bahoeli was 112.9kg.