It was an apricot oat bar. In a bizarre postscript to Lucas Browne’s first-round knockout defeat against Paul Gallen, the Aussie heavyweight has been forced to deny he ate a sausage roll in the changerooms before the fight.
Vision of Browne chomping on a pre-fight snack before his underwhelming performance — which was branded as “pathetic” by former Aussie world champion Billy Dib — earned a laugh from the Main Event broadcast team on Wednesday night.
“Is that a sausage roll he’s having before the fight? It might well be,” a commentator said. It sparked some social media sledding as viewers questioned how seriously the 42-year-old former world title challenger had taken the bout.
But early on Thursday morning, Browne responded to the furore, insisting it wasn’t a sausage roll. “So I’ve just realised wtf everyone was talking about when they were saying you fat c*** for eating a sausage roll while in the change room before the fight,” he wrote on Facebook. “It was the apricot oat bar lol … f***ing media and their bulls*** hahaha.”
Browne’s preparation was questioned after weighing 117kg for the fight — 15 kilograms heavier than Gallen and about 4kg more than when he fought for a world title in 2016.
Aussie boxing legend Barry Michael also revealed there were rumors Browne hadn’t been training hard and was relying on his knockout power for an early stoppage victory. It emerged as a critical topic of discussion in the pre-fight predictions – and it was again the big topic of conversation after the fight.
“What Barry’s been hearing and what is interesting that’s been around the whole story here is that Browne hasn’t been training that hard because he’s quite comfortable that he’ll get the six rounds out, whether it is a mistake or not,” boxing commentator Paul Kent said.
It’s why Michael predicted Gallen would win the fight if it went the complete six rounds. In the end Gallen only needed two minutes. Michael said Browne should never fight again. “I did hear rumors about his training camp that he wasn’t looking good,” Michael said. “But I still did believe that with his experience and punching power … but I admit I got that totally wrong.
“He showed no resilience whatsoever. His resilience is gone. When a fighter is shot, a fighter is shot. Lucas Browne should never consider venturing into a ring again. “I think it should be (the end). How’s he going to come back from that?” Kent said: “I didn’t expect Lucas Browne to go down so easily. I didn’t see a clear concussive punch … For a flurry of punches to put him down in the first round surprises me.”
Browne angrily denied he’d taken a dive in a 5am message to his critics on social media but the sports world wasn’t convinced. Ex-rugby pro Ollie Stedman declared Browne has “taken a dive for a few quid” and branded the bout a “disgrace”. At the same time, America’s WBO junior lightweight titleholder Jamel Herring cheekily asked what the odds were.
UK journo Neil Fissler could only laugh, tweeting: “Lucas Browne just got sparked by a former rugby league player inside a round.”
Closer to home the reaction was also widespread disappointment in what many considered another black eye for the sport in Australia. “I don’t know what to say about Browne’s performance,” tweeted The Daily Telegraph’s Jamie Pandaram. “I do,” former Aussie world titleholder Billy Dib replied. “Pathetic.”