CompuBox Preview and Prediction: Whyte vs. Browne

 Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

By CompuBox

March has been a busy month in boxing, especially at heavyweight. WBC titlist Deontay Wilder removed Luis Ortiz from the title equation thanks to a thrilling 10th round TKO while, on March 31, WBA/IBF champion Anthony Joshua will meet WBO counterpart Joseph Parker before another large crowd in Wales. But while that quartet has garnered most of the headlines, there is activity among its ranks.

One such fight pairs Dillian Whyte (who gave Joshua one of his toughest moments in round two of their fight thanks to a counter hook) and undefeated Australian power hitter Lucas Browne, who, at age 38, must make his mark now. Although Whyte will enjoy home ring advantage at the O2 in London, Browne is no stranger to British audiences as this will be his sixth fight in the UK, where he is 5-0 with four knockouts. Will he improve that mark or will Whyte, called "The Body Snatcher" (with apologies to Mike McCallum) snatch the big Aussie as well as his "zero."


Busy Hands

The average heavyweight throws 44.7 punches per round, but in his last four, Whyte averaged 76.3,  including a robust 78.5 in his three tracked fights following the loss to Joshua in December 2015. In fact, Whyte established a new CompuBox record at heavyweight by throwing 1,112 punches in 10 rounds against David Allen, surpassing the previous record of 1,102 set by Owen Beck against George Arias in September 2003 -- a mark that was achieved over 12 rounds.

Also, Whyte grabbed the top two spots in terms of punches thrown in a round; his 141 in round three tied the record set by Adam Kownacki in round six against Rodney Hernandez in October 2015 while his 140 in round four earned Whyte the number-two ranking. Other marks he set against Allen was 526 jabs thrown in a fight (ninth all-time) and 80 jabs thrown in round four (eighth all-time). By the way, Whyte's 87 attempted jabs in round one against Kamil Sokolowski in December 2014 is third all-time at heavyweight in fights counted by CompuBox, so Whyte is no stranger to making CompuBox top-10 lists.

While Whyte blew away his early competition — his 16 pre-Joshua fights averaged 2.8 rounds — his six bouts following the Joshua loss have averaged 8.8 rounds.

Four of his last five have lasted at least ten rounds, including a pair of 12-rounders against Dereck Chisora and Robert Helenius. The Chisora bout was one of 2016's best heavyweight brawls, but Whyte separated himself with superior volume (75.9 per round to Chisora's 53.1), better jabbing (31.2 thrown/6.7 connects per round to Chisora's 18.9 and 3.2) and ability to bounce back from Chisora's huge rounds in rounds five and eight. In the end, Whyte led 295-244 overall, 80-39 jabs and 215-205 power despite being less accurate in all phases (38%-32% overall, 21%-17% jabs, 50%-40%). Against Helenius, Whyte walked down the giant Finn (who injured his right hand midway through the fight), blasted the body (115 connects, including 31 body jabs), maintained a healthier pace (53.8 per round to Helenius' 30.9), out-jabbed the taller man (24.8 thrown/7.2 connects per round to Helenius' 18.2/3.6) and recorded big statistical gaps (244-89 overall, 87-43 jabs, 157-46 power as well as 38%-24% overall, 29%-20% jabs and 45%-30% power). He'll need to do the same against Browne, who, at 6-foot-5, is an inch taller, but, at 78 inches, has a one-inch shorter reach.

Late-Round Specialist

Browne has the physique and attitude of a brawler, but inside the ring he fights often on the back foot and probes for openings before striking. Although Browne has scored his share of early KOs (14 of his 21 KOs have occurred in the first four rounds), he has demonstrated excellent late-round strength. Former WBA titlist Ruslan Chagaev, who floored Browne in round six, was knocked down for good in round 10 with a powerful fight cross. It was a good thing Browne scored the TKO win, for despite out-landing Chagaev 111-104 overall and 37-15 jabs to off-set Chagaev's 89-74 lead in power connects, it was the hometown Russian who was way up on all scorecards (88-82 twice, 88-81). He showed similar comeback capacity against seven-footer Julius Long, who stunned the Australian with a series of lefts in round four, one round after Browne complained of pain in the right hand.

Still, Browne dug down and out-landed Long 75-12 overall and 58-6 power in rounds 7-9, scoring a knockdown in the eighth and finishing the fight with a huge hook at the end of the ninth. For the fight, Browne led 153-72 overall, 33-24 jabs and 120-48 power as well as 44%-28% overall, 42%-24% jabs and 44%-30% power. Another strong finishing kick occurred in rounds 10-12 against Andriy Rudenko (84-47 overall, 46-14 jabs, 38-34 power), expanding his final leads to 240-180 overall and 116-47 jabs and cut Rudenko's lead in power connects to 133-124. Again, Browne was more precise in all phases (43%-25% overall, 41%-165 jabs, 45%-31% power), allowing him to compensate for his lower volume (48.7 per round to Rudenko's 60.5). Given this history -- and Whyte's ability to throw hands from first bell to last -- it's likely that Browne will have to weather another storm if he is to achieve victory.

Inside The Numbers

Whyte is nicknamed 'The Body Snatcher' and aptly so, as 33.2% of his landed punches (last 4 fights) have been to the body of opponents.  He threw 22 more punches per round than the avg. heavyweight and also landed 7 jabs per round.  Red flag: Opponents landed 38.5% of their power punches vs Whyte. Browne, making a huge step up in class, landed 48.1% of his power shots, while his rather non-descript opponents landed 35.6% of their power shots.  So it appears we're in for a high-contact heavyweight fight.


At 29, Whyte is almost exactly nine years older than Browne, and he's fighting at home. Moreover, Browne, though he remains undefeated, has a frightening tendency to bleed. Of his five CompuBox-tracked fights between April 2014 and March 2016, Browne suffered cuts in four fights (left eyelid against Eric Martel Bahoeli from a butt; forehead, right ear and lower lip against Rudenko; left eye against Chauncey Welliver, and left eye vs. Chagaev). Those factors will be too much for Browne to overcome, and, as a result, Whyte will pound out a decisive points victory.

Sadam Ali Returns to the Ring to Battle Liam Smith on May 12

 Photo: Ed Mulholland

Photo: Ed Mulholland

Sadam "World Kid" Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship against hard-hitting former world champion and No .1 contender Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The event takes place Saturday, May 12 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM ET/PT.

Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has always displayed the skills of a future world champion. The 29-year-old pride of Brooklyn, N.Y. held multiple regional titles and scored important wins against the likes of Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez.  Though suffering a setback in a welterweight title fight against Jessie Vargas, Ali silenced his doubters by moving up to 154 pounds to defeat future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in Dec. 2017. The newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight Champion will face a tough challenge in Smith, a former holder of the same 154-pound title.

“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion,” said Sadam Ali. “I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.”

Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title that Ali currently holds. Smith then faced Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the title in an impressive show of heart and determination, and after three consecutive victories, he is ready to regain the title that was once his.

“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight,” said Liam Smith. “I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”

“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title from Four-Division, Six Time World Champion, and Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”

“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title,” said Frank Warren. “He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”

PODCAST: Ep 241 Whyte-Browne Preview and Harold Lederman Interview

HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney preview Saturday's heavyweight showdown from London between Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne, then they're joined by HBO's unofficial judge Harold Lederman for a conversation covering the Golovkin-Canelo scoring, what kind of fights are hardest to judge, the fight Harold would most like to see made, and much more.

Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne Engage in a Heavyweight Showdown Across the Pond on March 24


HBO Boxing jets across the Atlantic to familiar territory – the boxing hotbed of London, England for an important heavyweight matchup as HBO Boxing After Dark: Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne is presented Saturday, March. 24 at 6:00 PM. (ET/ PT) with a same-day replay at 10:00 PM. (ET/PT) from the landmark O2 venue in London. The HBO Sports team will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

The 12-round heavyweight tilt matches Britain’s Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) in a major showdown against Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KOs) of Australia. The two fighters are looking to move up the suddenly crowded and formidable heavyweight ladder.  A win for either fighter puts them in prime positon for a bigger showdown later in the year.

While Whyte has the home crowd advantage fighting in front of a partisan audience, Browne has shown a willingness to travel and will be making his sixth ring appearance on British soil.  Though they have only met at press conferences, the two fighters have sparked a hot rivalry and both are heading into the late March showdown determined to register a convincing victory.

WATCH: Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 Fan Event - Canelo Alvarez Interview

HBO Boxing Insider Kieran Mulvaney speaks with Canelo Alvarez at the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 kickoff fan event in Los Angeles. Watch Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 on Saturday, May 5 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT on HBO Pay-Per-View.

PODCAST Ep 240: Andy Lee Interview

HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney catch up with newly retired former middleweight titleholder Andy Lee for a conversation about his decision to hang up the gloves, his Olympic experience, working with the great Emanuel Steward, what to expect in the Golovkin-Alvarez rematch, and what other middleweights right now can threaten the Canelo-GGG winner.

PODCAST Ep 239: Kovalev-Mikhalkin, Bivol-Barrera Postfight

HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney look back on dominant knockout wins for Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden and glance ahead to when the two elite light heavyweights might meet in the ring, plus they reflect on last week's Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fan event at LA Live.

Kovalev and Bivol Win in New York, to Set Up Possible Clash

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Kieran Mulvaney

NEW YORK, NY -- Sergey Kovalev scored his second consecutive stoppage victory at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, but whereas his previous opponent, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, offered little resistance before being battered into submission in the second round, Igor Mikhalkin proved to be a more stubborn proposition.

Not that Kovalev’s compatriot ever threatened to defeat his fellow Russian: he had neither the skill nor, importantly, the power to spring the upset. But his awkward, herky-jerky southpaw style proved something of a conundrum for Kovalev to solve. Kovalev, however, seemed fully resigned from the opening bell to the fact that this was a fight that he just needed to win, but should not expect to win prettily.

Mikhalkin was not exactly elusive, but he kept his guard high and swung his upper body from side to side, lunging in with unorthodox lead left hands and then stepping to his right, making it hard for Kovalev to land cleanly. The tone was set early, as Mikhalkin swarmed Kovalev to the ropes, not so much with punches as with his whole body, only for Kovalev (32-2-1, 27 KOs) to drive him back with short punches on the inside. Knowing that his former fellow national amateur team member was going to prove a tough out, Kovalev was clearly keeping something in reserve, not over-committing to his punches, not attempting to land with power but just looking to land with whatever he could.

Mikhalkin did score with some southpaw lead lefts in the third, which appeared to briefly fill him with the courage to stand and fight, allowing Kovalev to land some clean counter lefts and sharp rights in the fourth. By the sixth, Kovalev was fully dialed in. He walked Mikhalkin (21-2, 9 KOs) into a right hand in the sixth, and then cracked him with a left hook that sent him lurching across the ring.

By the end of the sixth, Mikhalkin’s face was a mess, his right cheek cut and swelling and his eye closing. Sensing the end was near to start the seventh, he did his best to fight his way out of trouble, but a Kovalev right hand hurt him, and now the Krusher knew he had his prey where he wanted him. But before he could finish him off, referee Steve Willis halted the action for Mikhalkin’s battered visage to be examined by the ringside physician, who immediately told Willis to stop the contest, at 2:25 of the round.

A smiling Kovalev, after scoring his second straight win following his defeats by Andre Ward smiled and said, “Yes, I’m back. But not against southpaws. He’s not an easy fighter. He’s a good boxer. He showed stamina and movement, he’s a great boxer.” Asked if he was now ready for a bigger fight, he smiled again. “I’m always ready, but not against southpaw. If it’s big money fight, yes I’m willing.”

That fight could be against non-southpaw Dmitry Bivol, who took a major step up in opposition against Sullivan Barrera in the co-main event and passed the test impressively.

Barrera had the option to fight Kovalev on Saturday night but, arguing that the pay being offered was insufficient, opted instead to take on the young undefeated Bivol. That gamble backfired as Bivol outboxed and outfought him before scoring a knockout victory with a thumping right hand in the twelfth and final round to retain a light-heavyweight title and continue his march to the very top of the division.

Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the outset, firing a stiff jab that backed up Barrera in the opening round. Known to this point primarily for his knockout power, Bivol rapidly established that he was faster of hand and foot than his opponent, bouncing on his toes to move in and out, taking a half step back and out of range whenever Barrera set to punch, and then sliding back in to fire off rapid combinations. By stepping back, Bivol forced Barrera to lean in with his punches, which not only negated any power they might have had by the time they landed, but also left the Cuban-born Miami resident in perfect range for Bivol’s counters.

Still, Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) is a cagey and skilled veteran, and was keeping a tight enough defense and throwing enough offense to prevent Bivol from landing a truly clear shot until the fourth, when a flurry was followed by a hook that had Barrera in some trouble. He survived the Russian’s follow-up assault, but then a three-punch combination was followed by a straight right to Barrera’s head that sent the spray flying. Another three-punch Bivol combination in the sixth was punctuated with a clean left hook.

Barrera was by now wearing the expression of a man who was beginning to regret his life choices – and certainly this particular one – but he refused to go away quietly, offering enough offense to keep Bivol honest. But whereas the Russian’s punches were sharp, snapping and frequently throw in combination as part of a planned assault, Barrera’s were largely one at a time, reactive and thrown as if to merely to keep Bivol at bay.

Bivol almost broke through again in the eighth, hurting Barrera and forcing him to hang on to ride out the storm of a follow-up assault. By the tenth – the one round that all three judges scored for Barrera – and the eleventh, Bivol was in cruise control, bouncing on his toes, moving in and out and throwing his stiff jab and, whenever he sensed an opening, right hand. But he began the twelfth in seek-and-destroy mode, to concussive and conclusive effect. Bivol fired a jab, thought about a follow-up right, paused when he didn’t have a clean shot, fired another jab, and another, and then saw an opening for a right hand, which exploded on Barrera’s temple and sent him crashing to his back along the ropes.

Somehow, the Cuban hauled himself to his feet, but slowly and unsteadily, and referee Harvey Dock, seeing he was in no condition to continue, called a halt at 1:41 of the round.

CompuBox statistics underlined Bivol’s dominance. He landed 243 of 778 total punches, compared to 75 of 606 for Barrera; his power punch stats were even more lopsided in his favor, landing 146 to just 65.

Even so, his face showed he had not had things entirely his own way: he was cut over the right eye by a head butt, and another clash of heads raised a nasty welt on his forehead. And the fighter appeared to give himself a passing grade but not much more.

“It was a really great opponent,” he said. “Sullivan Barrera showed me a lot of things tonight that I have to work on. Thank you, Sullivan. In the first few rounds, I was a little bit reserved. I was thinking about how much I needed to go the rest of the fight. In the 12th round, I knew I could stop him, and I stepped on the gas and got the knockout.”