UNBEATEN heavyweight contender Lucas Browne overcame a far tougher and determined Julius Long than anybody expected earlier today in Australia. Eventually, after a rough and tough night’s work, Browne got the KO win with a second remaining in the ninth-round. Now 23-0(20), Browne said post-fight how he injured his thumb in the early going. Long, loser of eleven of his last 12 bouts, falls to 16-19(14). Still, the 38-year-old put on one of his best showings in some time.

“Big Daddy,” as Browne is known, is closing in on a shot at a world title and the 36-year-old has called out all manner of big names recently. It’s likely that none of these fighters – Tyson Fury included – will have seen anything to worry them in Browne’s latest win.

Long, a 7-foot, one-inch club fighter/journeyman perhaps remembered best by UK fans as the guy Audley Harrison blasted to defeat inside a couple of rounds way back in 2002 in what was Harrison’s third pro outing, gave Browne all manner of problems. Catching the heavily tattooed contender to head and body, in the early rounds especially, Long occasionally switched to southpaw and even found time to clown around, smiling and sticking his tongue out at Browne.

To be fair to the Australian, Long had come in at short notice after two previous opponents had pulled out, and with his height, Long has given other decent fighters trouble in the past. Then again, if Long had been given more time to get in better condition, who knows, maybe the shots he was caught with by a somewhat desperate  Browne would not have found their target? Long won his share of rounds, that’s for sure.

Browne, his right hand troubling him from the early rounds, most notably from the third-round on, managed to put his left hook to good use. Managing to get Long in a corner in the eighth, Browne blasted away with everything, finally dropping his man to the canvas. Long showed real heart in hauling himself back up and even managed to try and fight back. The end finally came, though, in the ninth-round, when Browne landed flush with a left hook to the head that rendered Long unconscious. No count was given, the end coming at 2-59 of the round.

Browne later said it was a good fight and that he needed the rounds as he had not boxed for nine months. As marked up as he was around the face and as frequently hit as he was during today’s fight, not too many people will be willing to agree with him.