‘What a comeback’: Lucas Browne KOs Faiga Opelu in shock comeback
Former world champion Lucas Browne has bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Paul Gallen with a stunning comeback.
Former WBA world heavyweight champion Lucas Browne has bounced back in one of the most stunning comeback wins to knockout former Aussie champion Faiga Opelu.
The win sees Browne nab the win the WBA Oceania heavyweight title and proves the 42-year-old Aussie champion has still got it.
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His last time out, Browne was stunningly KO'ed in the first round of his fight with former NRL star Paul Gallen and it appeared his career was over.
It was far from the end that Australia’s first heavyweight champion deserved but he chose to continue his career in one last burst in order to set himself up for the rest of his life as he nears the end of his time in boxing.
But Opelu, who lost his Australian heavyweight title to Justis Huni on his professional debut, looked to be a bridge too far early for Browne.
In commentary on Fox Sports, Ben Damon and Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech felt Browne was getting beaten easy in the early rounds.
At the end of round two, Ben Damon said “this is not a strong performance from the former world champion Lucas Browne”.
Fenech said Browne needed to get to work.
“When you smile when someone punches you, it’s really saying nothing. He needs to work, forget jabbing the body, he needs to punch up a little, throw the jab and uppercut. He’s got one of the most powerful right hands I’ve ever felt Lucas Browne but he’s not using it and he’s not getting in position to use it.”
While Browne did land some more shots as the fight went on Opelu looked the stronger, until the experience former champion turned it around at the end of the seventh round.
The weight of punches started to wear on Opelu.
And a short left saw Browne finally drop Opelu, who went down hard on his face.
“Lucas Browne has won this fight and won himself through to another payday,” Damon said. “Lucas Browne comes back after dropping round after round and finds the power we knew he had.“
The Browne comeback turned out to be the biggest fight on the card as the co-main even featuring Jai Opetaia and Daniel Russell and the main event of Isaac Hardman and Adam Stowe.
Opetaia and Hardman lived up to their world rankings with early finishes in dominant displays against late fill-in opponents.
Opetaia’s next fight will likely be a world title shot against Latvia IBF cruiserweight world champion Mairis Breidis.
He finished Russell in the second round after dropping his opponent each time he unleashed a big shot.
Asked about the next fight, Opetaia said: “I can’t wait man. We got this one out of the way, now we can just focus mainly on that world title shot. We’re just going to build fitter, stronger, faster every day.”
It took Hardman four rounds to oust Stowe who fought hard despite being clearly outmatched.
Hardman had said he’d buy a beer for everyone in the venue if it took more than five rounds,
“He was starved of fighting the big names and he took this at the drop of a hat. Credit to Adam, there needs to be more blokes like Adam Stowe,” Hardman said.
“He nearly did cost me my paycheck, I nearly had to shout everyone but ya’s get nothing.”
As for what’s next, he said: “I’m going to smash that Michael Zerafa’s head in.”
Jeff Horn added: “I’ve done that once before and it feels pretty good.”
Timing drama can’t stop ‘masterclass’ KO
Dana Coolwell has won the but it wasn’t without controversy as the fight went on four rounds longer than it appeared to be heading.
Coolwell finished the fight with a knockout blow that Main Event’s Ben Damon said it was in the “knockout of the year conversation in Australian boxing”.
It was at the end of the 10th round as Coolwell finally found a crushing blow via a left hook.
But the end of the sixth round looked like it was going to be decisive as Coolwell appeared to be looking for the knockout punch as he put the pressure on.
However, the bell rang 59 seconds early, saving Zalewski from the early exit.
“There’s a minute to go in the round,” Jeff Fenech said incredulously.
“It’s saved Miles Zalewski,” added Damon. “That’s extraordinary stuff and it's incredible timing.”
Fenech added: “Think his dad is keeping time.”
Damon: “The timekeeper has bailed Miles Zalewski out, not intentionally obviously but with the error, Zalewski, who was badly hurt and had taken another right hand gets himself another minute to recover.”
Fenech said he was baffled as the Coolwell corner didn’t even complain about the early call.
But the fight still finished early as Coolwell unloaded huge left hook that left Zalewski unable to get off the canvas as his corner threw in the towel.
Fenech gave a massive compliment, saying it was a “masterclass performance”, while Damon called it “just perfection”.
Fight card results
Isaac Hardman defeated Adam Stowe, middleweight, via 4th round TKO
Jai Opetaia defeated Daniel Russell, cruiserweight, via 3rd round TKO
Lucas Browne defeated Faiga “Django” Opelu, heavyweight, via 7th round KO
Dana Coolwell defeated Miles Zalewski, super featherweight, via 10th round KO
Andrew Hunt defeated Ben Kite, welterweight, via majority decision (95-95, 96-94, 96-94)
Tevita Pangai Jnr. defeated Gerico Cecil, heavyweight, via 2nd round TKO
Taylah Robertson defeated Kylie Fulmer, catchweight, via unanimous decision (80-72x3)