Newly crowned Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion Lucas Browne has no shortage of top Australasian talent as potential rivals, with world title contender Alex Leapai and emerging New Zealand star Joseph Parker leading the way.
Browne became the first Australian since 1892 to hold the Commonwealth title and won the WBC Eurasian Pacific Boxing Council title with a fifth round stoppage of Canadian Eric Bahoeli in the English city of Sheffield early Sunday AEST.
His win came shortly before Leapai’s fifth-round loss to quadruple world champion Wladimir Klitschko in Oberhausen, Germany.
Also appearing on that card was 22-year old Aucklander Parker.
The highly rated kiwi won his first regional belt, earning the interim Pan Asian Boxing Association title with a seventh-round stoppage of Brazilian Marcelo Nascimento.
Queenslander Leapai is the No. 1-rated heavyweight in Australia, with WA’s Browne second.
Leapai named Browne as a potential opponent as he looked to bounce back from the loss to Klitschko.
“If it’s Lucas Browne or Shannon `The Cannon’ Briggs, or even that guy who was calling out Wladimir, Manuel Charr, those are the fights I’ll be chasing,” Leapai said.
“I’m a puncher and I’ll take any of these guys toe to toe.”
Leapai’s manager-trainer Noel Thornberry is interested in bringing in former WBO champion Briggs, who gatecrashed last week’s press conference and weigh in.
He said Browne was another possible opponent for his charge.
“If Lucas is really serious, we’d be happy to sit down and have a talk with them, but if not we’ve got plenty of things we can do,” Thornberry told AAP.
“It’s a good all-Aussie fight. We can get young Joseph Parker to come over as well and fight on the card.”
Parker’s management are keen to pit their promising starlet against Browne, despite the latter’s superior experience.
“Joseph is a young fighter with huge potential, but I can confirm we think he’s a superior fighter to Lucas Browne,” said David Higgins, director of Duco Promotions, Parker’s promoters.
“We do have a bullseye on Lucas Browne’s forehead. We’re pursuing them now and it just comes down to whether Lucas Browne is prepared to step up or not.
“To see who is going to rise and eventually be the top dog in the region among Lucas and Alex Leapai and Joseph Parker.”
American veteran Brian Minto, who beat kiwi heavyweight Shane Cameron last December, is another prospective opponent for Parker.