Lucas Browne is Australia’s first ever world heavyweight champion after halting Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th round in Russia.
The burly 36-year-old (24-0-KO21) from New South Wales went into the bout as an underdog and had to haul himself up from a sixth-round knockdown but recovered to silence Grozny and claim the WBA crown.
Chagaev (34-3-1-KO21), whose only previous defeats came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, began solidly and his compact style and opportunistic jabbing moved him ahead during tentative opening rounds.
It looked like the end was nigh in the sixth when Chagaev produced a solid right to the body that set up a left upstairs to send Browne reeling back and down to the canvas but Browne rose and edged his way to the bell.
He was quick to establish himself in an entertaining seventh that saw both men land, and his savage uppercuts caught the eye as the pair began to tangle on the inside.
Chagaev reacted by bringing more economy into his punching and looked to be slowly grinding Browne down as the fight progressed until a moment of history arrived quite suddenly in the 10th.
As the pair separated from another tussle on the inside, Chagaev attempted a left that exposed him to a perfectly-timed right hook counter from Browne that felled the champion and drew an audible gasp from those in attendance.
The 37-year-old, who won the belt in July 2014 but has made just one defence since, rose to his feet only to find Browne in clinical mode. The challenger jumped on his man immediately and unloaded a barrage of hooks and with Chagaev on the ropes offering no reply, the referee intervened to spark wild celebrations from Browne’s corner.
Browne is promoted by Manchester’s former world champion Ricky Hatton and trains under Rodney Williams – alongside another British boxing legend, Nigel Benn.
Former WBA champion David Haye was among the first to salute Browne’s achievement.
— David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) March 5, 2016