This year looks set to be one of the most exciting periods the heavyweight division has witnessed in recent years.
Three huge headline events have already been scheduled during the first quarter of 2018 and one of those is between long-time foes Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne.
The pair will get the chance to finally silence one another as they prepare to square up at the 02 Arena on March 24.
In build-up to promoting the fight, Whyte has continued the war-of-words, labelling Browne a drugs cheat and a racist. One man who was present during those accusations was the Aussie’s promoter Ricky Hatton.
The ‘Hitman’, speaking exclusively to World Boxing News, is himself fired up for the clash: “At the press conference I was very, very proud of Lucas about the way he handled himself, but I can’t say the same about Dillian.
“That’s not me making any judgement of Dillian, that’s what press conferences are for in boxing and that’s what makes the sport what it is, people say things that controversial. But I do think both of them genuinely don’t like each other.
“With Anthony Joshua being the number one in the heavyweight division and Lucas being a former world champion who’s undefeated, has scored big knockout wins, what an incentive the Anthony Joshua fight is if he comes through Dillian. And he stands a very good chance of doing that. It’ll be his motivation in this fight.”
The winner of the outcome will also be ranked as the number one mandatory for WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Hatton believes his man can land the punch to turn off Whyte’s charge a world title.
“Lucas isn’t the most talented or the quickest, he’ll be the first to admit that, but he has career-ending power. I see Dillian probably being in front at the start of the fight, he’s a good puncher, has decent work rate and is a good boxer.
“But the first time Lucas lands, I think that’ll be the turning point. It’s not my job to tell him as a promoter that he just needs to land a big one. But if he does, then that’ll be the end of that,” he added.
‘Big Daddy’ became Australia’s first ever world champion when he defeated Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny via TKO in the tenth-round back in 2016.
However, after the fight, Browne was stripped of his title two months later for failing a drugs test. It was eventually overturned before the 38-year-old produced another positive drug test.
Browne has recently just got back in the ring following an inactive spell, defeating Matthew Greer comprehensively in Sydney.
Hatton is hopeful the heavyweight can go back into the direction of winning world titles again.
He concluded: “It’s been frustrating, he failed a drugs test in Russia and something just didn’t smell right there but in the second one I just think he’s been a little bit gullible. There’s so many things that you can take now whether it’s vitamins, tablets, creatine or protein shakes.
“These days in boxing you must be very careful, he should be looking at the list but that’s the only thing that has made his career stall a little bit. Hopefully, after the Dillian Whyte fight, he can kick on.”
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95
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