TWO-TIME world heavyweight champion Hasim “The Rock” Rahman is backing Lucas Browne to knock Ruslan Chagaev out.
Browne travels to the Russian Republic of Chechnya to face the reigning WBA king on March 5.
And Rahman believes the hard-hitting Aussie has enough in his locker to score a victory similar to his own stunning stoppage of British great Lennox Lewis 15 years ago.
He said: “Get ready Aussies, y’all have a new heavyweight champion! Lucas has the size and the strength to become champ.
“I believe Lucas will win the WBA title in his next fight, so let me congratulate him in advance. This is a monumental accomplishment and I’m proud of Lucas! Welcome to the fraternity, my brother.
“I know Lucas is going all the way over to Chechnya to fight for the title. I had to go all the way to South Africa to knock out Lennox Lewis, but trust me, winning it away from home and against all the odds just makes it sweeter!
“Lucas has a big right hand, just like me. I think he’ll put Chagaev to sleep just like I did to Lennox.”
Browne’s rise from four and six round fights in Australia and the UK has been little short of meteoric and he has to pinch himself when he hears his name mentioned in the same breath of Rahman and Lewis.
“It’s a real honour to have Hasim Rahman’s support. He was one of the most exciting heavyweights in the world. I still remember the two incredible fights he had with Lennox Lewis, both of them had you on the edge of your seat.
“I see certain similarities with me and Rahman. Both of us are heavy hitters and always in entertaining fights. He had to travel away as an underdog to get the title and I have to do the same thing.
“He was not expected to beat Lewis in South Africa but he took it out of the hands of the judges and knocked him clean out. I am going to do that to Chagaev.”
Matt Clark, Browne’s manager, added: “I was delighted when Hasim got in touch to tell us he has Lucas’s back and he believes in him.
“It’s great that a former champion still keeps his eye on the sport and the next generation is coming through as his son Sharif Rahman made his professional debut in December with a knockout win.
“This kind of support from a former champion can only be a good thing and something that will further encourage Lucas.”