By Richard Cawley
Dillian Whyte will fight Lucas Browne at Greenwich’s 02 Arena on March 24 – with the winner only enhancing their chances of a shot at WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Brixton’s Whyte has engaged in a social media spat with the Australian heavyweight and the pair have signed to settle the dispute inside the ring.
Whyte’s WBC silver title will be on the line and he is also risking his number one ranking spot with the governing body – making him the mandatory challenger for American Wilder.
But yet another high-profile bout for Whyte will also create the possibility of a rematch with Anthony Joshua, who already holds the IBF and WBA belts and goes into a unification with Joseph Parker, the WBO champion, on March 31 in Wales.
“Finally Lucas Browne has got his **** together and signed the contract,” said Whyte, whose record stands at 22-1.
“I seem to always perform better under the heat. Let’s hope Lucas Browne comes and fights – Robert Helenius said that he would and ran.
“He is coming to fight someone who is young and hungry. If he thinks he is going to knock me out then I say work on something else bro, because you’re not going to put me away with one or two punches.”
Sydney-based Brown – nicknamed Big Daddy – has KO’d 22 opponents in a perfect 25-0 record.
That includes a stoppage victory over former WBA king Ruslan Chagaev in March 2016. He has only fought once since as he halted Matthew Greer (16-20) in June.
“He’s extremely deluded – he thinks he is a world-beater which makes him dangerous,” said Whyte. “I’ve got to get my training right and treat him like a serious contender.
“I respect his power. Even if he has fought 25 bums, he has knocked 22 out and that takes some going. Congratulations, but that streak ends here.
“Chagaev was beating him comfortably and just walked into a big punch. But Chagaev rocked him and had him in all sorts of problems – he isn’t a puncher.
“I saw a lot of weaknesses in that fight, but also strengths. He wants to throw that big right hand all the time.
“Matthew Greer is a punchbag with legs. You have to look at live opponents. The best he has fought is Richard Towers, James Toney and Chagaev. Toney is ancient and buzzed him left, right and centre.”
Browne had been waiting on a possible challenge to Parker but described himself as the plan B back in November as the Kiwi puncher negotiated a big-money clash with Joshua.
Asked how he rated Whyte, the former WBF belt-holder said: “Round about 15th [in the world]. Don’t get me wrong – he can box and he can fight. But he is like [Dereck] Chisora used to be. He is a premier gatekeeper – if you beat him you go onto better things and if you don’t then you shouldn’t be in the division.
“The one reason he is where he is – Eddie Hearn [Matchroom Boxing promoter]. I’d be thanking Eddie Hearn for that one.
“If I was to fight him I’d want to get the WBC silver title and have a training camp. The last time he offered me the fight it was three or four weeks out – I wasn’t ready.
“There was no point me jumping in with no notice.”
Whyte’s wide points verdict over giant Finn Helenius in October failed to spark.
But he has hit back at critics who described his fight against the former European king as one-paced.
“I trained for him to come forward and to try and do work and he came and spent the whole 12 rounds running,” explained Whyte. “The only time he showed any form of wanting to fight was the first round.
“Heavyweight boxing is b******. People do a lot of talking but when it comes to fighting, these guys don’t want to fight – they don’t show ambition once they get touched.
“Helenius is one of the best fighters of my era. He is powerful, awkward, 6ft 8ins-tall. He is the only man who has knocked out Samuel Peter and Lamon Brewster apart from Wladimir Klitschko – and he did it when they were in form.”
Greenwich heavyweight Daniel Dubois (6-0) will defend his Southern Area title against DL Jones (8-0-1) at the Copper Box Arena on February 10.
Battersea-raised Bradley Skeete (27-1) meets Laszlo Toth (25-3-1) for the vacant WBC international welterweight title on the same Frank Warren show.