Former Parramatta Eels junior Lucas Browne will fight Ruslan Chagaev on Saturday in Grozny for the WBA world heavyweight boxing title.
It has been a long ride for the Australian from the rugby league fields of western Sydney to cage-fighting, kick-boxing and eventually the boxing ring.
This weekend the 36-year old can make history by becoming the first Aussie to hold the world heavyweight crown.
“When I was 15 I decided to try and for the Harold Matthews side and got picked. I started off in the front row and by SG Ball I was on the wing,” Browne told The Daily Telegraph.
“My first year I played with Eric Grothe and in the second year it was [Nathan] Hindmarsh and Cayless. I’m still a huge Parramatta fan, it’s a great club.”
Browne, who is trained by English great Nigel Benn, turned professional in 2009. He has a record of 23 wins from 23 fights, with 20 by knockout.
Browne won the Commonwealth title by defeating Canadian Eric Bahoeli in Sheffield in 2014.
The 1.96 metre, 116kg heavyweight is promoted by former world champions Ricky Hatton.
This Browne posted a good luck message to the Eels ahead of their NRL season opener against Brisbane.