Marcus Browne remains focused on future championship fight

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The champion Marcus Browne thought he would fight Saturday night will instead defend the WBO light heavyweight title about 150 miles down the Eastern seaboard from where Browne battles a lesser-known opponent.

While Sergey Kovalev is busy preparing to encounter Colombia’s Eleider Alvarez later Saturday night in Atlantic City, Browne will meet the Dominican Republic’s Lenin Castillo in a 10-round fight as part of the Devon Alexander-Andre Berto undercard at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. It’ll be broadcast as part of an FS2 and FOX Deportes telecast set to start at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT, before the action shifts to FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT for a super middleweight match between Peter Quillin and J’Leon Love and the Alexander-Berto bout.

“I’m just ready to display my talent, keep myself high up in the rankings and force a title shot somewhere, some way or another,” Browne said.

Browne believed he would challenge Kovalev for the WBO 175-pound championship in his next fight. Negotiations were nearly completed for a Kovalev-Browne bout when they were scuttled because Browne was charged with domestic violence allegations.

“I gave Kovalev a reason not to fight me,” Browne said. “I’m not gonna sit here and shy away from it. It definitely is a factor in the situation. It’s just kind of crazy with the sport of boxing, but it is what it is. I’m just focused on [Saturday night], taking care of business and forcing some type of title fight.”

Staten Island’s Browne would still like to fight Kovalev, but he also would welcome a shot at IBF champ Artur Beterbiev, WBA champ Dmitry Bivol or WBC champ Adonis Stevenson. The 2012 Olympian just wants an opportunity to win a light heavyweight title.

“It would mean the world to me,” said Browne, who is ranked No. 2 by the WBA, WBC and WBO. “It would mean everything to me. This is what I’m doing it for. I’m doing it to become a world champion and to put my name in the history books. I’ve been at the top at every level of boxing – from the state to international, and I’m just trying to do that as a professional.”

For now, however, the 27-year-old Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) is fully focused on producing another impressive performance against Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KOs). The Dominican veteran could change his entire career by upsetting Browne.

“I’m just focused on taking care of Lenin Castillo and doing it the right way,” Browne said. “Because if I don’t, there won’t be no title talk at all. So I’ve gotta take care of what’s in front of me first. He’s young and hungry. He only has one loss and that was a majority decision. So I’m just focused on him right now and taking care of business the right way.”

Castillo, 29, has won each of his three fights by knockout since suffering his lone professional defeat. That loss came against Joseph Williams (12-0, 8 KOs), who beat Castillo by majority decision in an eight-round bout 17 months ago in Miami, Oklahoma.

Browne only has been able to obtain footage from fights early in Castillo’s career. The strong southpaw expects an improved opponent to step into the ring Saturday night.

“All the fights I’ve seen are old fights and guys get better,” Browne said. “So I’m not really banking on what I’m watching. I’m preparing for any type of fight, honestly, so I’ve been getting really good sparring and working off of what we know of him already, from what we’ve seen of the tendencies that he likes.

“That’s when you’ve gotta focus and turn things up because you can get caught sleeping and thinking that it’s just another regular fight, when it actually isn’t. He’s not about to catch me lacking at all. I’m ready for whatever he’s ready to bring, honestly.”

Browne could use some rounds Saturday night because his last three fights have resulted in a sixth-round knockout of Thomas Williams Jr. (20-4, 14 KOs) in February 2017, a second-round stoppage of Sean Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) in July 2017 and a first-round technical knockout of Francy Ntetu (17-2, 4 KOs) on January 20.

“In boxing, we don’t get paid for overtime,” Browne said. “Of course it would be nice to get rounds in, but if you can make it a short night that’s what you do. In the last two fights, I was ready for all 10 rounds, just like for this one. I was in 12-round shape and that’s the same way I’m looking at this fight. I’m ready to go the distance and do what I’ve gotta do to systematically break this kid down.”

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