The West

Browne looks to follow Hooper master class
Lucas Browne. Pic: Hatton Promotions

English boxing great Ricky Hatton will be hoping for a second win in three days from his Aussie fighters on Saturday morning (WA time).

Following Damien Hooper's impressive seven-round dismantling of Joel Casey on the Gold Coast last night, another of promoter Hatton's Australian charges, Lucas Browne, is in action.

"Big Daddy" Browne, 35, who has stopped 18 victims in a perfect 20-0 record, faces another unbeaten prospect in Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko (24-0) in Wolverhampton, in England.

And Browne, who was 30 when he started boxing but has now won the Commonwealth title and is ranked top 10 in the world, goes into the bout with ringing praise from his new trainer and Aussie boxing royalty Jeff Fenech.

"The WBC and WBA (regular) champions (Bermane Stiverne and Ruslan Chagaev) are both beatable. If Lucas keeps getting the best sparring then he could be fighting for a world title in six months," three-weight world champion Fenech said.

"Preparation is everything and as long as he gets the right camp, he'll be ready.

"Australia has never had a world champion in the heavyweight division and I think for Lucas to become the first would be an incredible thing. Alex Leapai went over to Germany to fight Klitschko and he had tremendous support but Lucas can go a step further than that.

"I think if people knew Lucas's story, they would be amazed. When people learn how old he was when he started as a novice and how fast he's come on, I think his story will capture all Australians."

Browne had often trained himself in Perth before returning to Sydney at the start of this year and Fenech, who trained Mike Tyson briefly at the end of his career, says "Big Daddy" can match "Iron Mike's" punching power.

"I watched Lucas about a year ago and I was really excited, but he was throwing just one punch at a time. Since he's been with me we've been working on getting him punching in combinations. If he can do that in this fight, I think he'll win it early.

"I trained Mike Tyson and I know it's hard to make comparisons, but holding the pads for Lucas hurt me more than Tyson did. Tyson was sharp and a great puncher. Lucas is really heavy handed and if he uses that power with combinations, then he'll win by knockout in the first few rounds."

Last night it was Hooper who shone with a master class in his grudge match with fellow Queenslander Joel Casey.

Hooper, (9-0, eight early) coming off his impressive third round TKO win over Josh Webb in Perth, had too much speed, class and power for Casey.

Memories of Hatton's 2001 win over Tony Pep came back as Hooper slammed home a vicious left to the body which sent a bloodied Casey to the canvas.

Casey was up at eight, but back down again soon after after Hooper repeated the trick.

Then after Casey staggered up at nine, Hooper closed in before delivering a third shot to the body which ended the contest.

"It was a world class performance," Hooper's trainer Gareth Williams said. "He stuck to the plan of box and break him down and then opportunities came.

"He was listening perfectly, his long punches were beautiful and when he went down to the body he dropped him three times in round and finished him."

Hooper will return to action against as yet to be confirmed opponent on October 8.

The West Australian

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