IN another coup for Australian boxing, Queensland slugger Mark Flanagan will trade bombs with Russian destroyer Denis Lebedev for the World Boxing Association cruiserweight title in Moscow on July 10.
Eight days after Jeff Horn tries to make history against world welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium, Flanagan will also try to bring down one of the heaviest hitters in the sport.
Flanagan, 26, will start a big underdog against the 90kg southpaw who was once trained by Australia’s Russian-born former world champ Kostya Tszyu.
Queensland boxer Mark Flanagan has a record of 22 wins from 26 starts.Source:Getty Images
But the Brisbane-based strongman from North Queensland goes into the fight full of confidence, having won his last 11 fights.
Flanagan’s record is 22 wins in 26 starts. He signed for the deal on Monday in Miami while attending an international boxing convention.
“It’s actually happening,’’ a delighted Flanagan said.
“Words can’t even describe what I’m feeling. This has been my dream since I was a 14-year-old 60kg amateur fighting out of the Hawks Boxing Club for Dennis Clancy in Townsville.
“And now here I am about to fight the biggest fight possible. This is my moment. This is a real life Rocky moment for me.’’
Lebedev, 37, boasts victories over big names Roy Jones and James Toney. He has a record of 29 wins in 32 fights but lost his last bout – by split decision – fighting IBF champion and fellow Russian Murat Gassiev..
Flanagan’s world title shot comes after painstaking work by his promoter Angelo Di Carlo, who has been building the fighter’s career at Brisbane venues such as the Eaton’s Hill Hotel and Mansfield Tavern.
Denis Lebedev boasts a record of 29 wins in 32 boutsSource:Getty Images
Meanwhile, Perth heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy’’ Browne, who won a version of the world heavyweight title only to have his career twice derailed by failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs, will return to the ring on June 2 at Sydney’s Club Punchbowl.
Browne will face American journeyman Michael Greer.
On the same card ex-Roosters second-rower Willis Meehan, a former Australian amateur super-heavyweight champion, tackles Alex Leapai’s heavy-hitting cousin Danny Rio.
Originally published asAussie slugger lands ‘dream’ world title bout
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