Blue-chip prospects have to pass a few tests before graduating to the world level and light heavyweight upstart Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KO) aced another one in Francy Ntetu (17-2, 4 KO), winning by knockout in just over two minutes (2:15 of Round 1).
Browne, a three-time New York Golden Gloves champion, was happy to compete again in front of a partisan crowd.
“I’m glad I put together another great performance here at Barclays Center,” Browne said after extending his undefeated record. “I’m going to keep improving until I really become Mr. Barclays Center.”
Not long after the first bell sounded in the arena, referee Arthur Mercante separated the two fighters after some early wrestling initiated by Ntetu.
Browne began to circle his prey, avoiding some light punches from Ntetu. One minute in, the American leaped in with a left hand to brush his man to the ropes. He followed the attack up with a quick succession of right and left hands to drop Ntetu to his knees.
The Canadian transplant attempted to get up but fell over onto his face. He would beat the 10-count. But Ntetu wasn’t interested in anymore punishment. He immediately backed himself into the neutral corner—waiting for the inevitable.
Another flush left hook from Browne slammed into his helpless opponent. Ntetu raised his gloves in desperation before wrapping up Browne. The American pried himself away, ready to continue his assault. The referee, though, inexplicably jumped between the two.
The fight wasn’t over. Browne got back on the inside of Ntetu and stuffed a right hand into his man’s face. As soon as Ntetu tried grappling again, referee Mercante stopped the fight for good.
The CompuBox ShoStats were telling. Ntetu didn’t land a single one of the eight punches he threw. Brown landed nearly half of his 40 total shots, all power punches (18 of 30).
The stoppage marked the 16th knockout of Browne’s career, thanks in large to his fine combination punching and huge power.
Before tonight, Ntetu spent most of his career in the super middleweight division. In 2016, the Congo-born slugger pushed WBC world titleholder David Benavidez to his limit before a criminally early stoppage.
The fight with Browne might have ended early too. But Ntetu was clearly out of his depth. At 35, there might not be another opportunity for him.
Browne, still 27, seems like a real player at 175 pounds. He’s stringing together a nice ledger. The American has piled up wins over a handful of recognizable mid-tier fighters. Not the least of which are world title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. and Gabriel Campillo, the division’s top gatekeeper for almost a decade.
The 2012 Olympian is rated in the Top 10 of all four major sanctioning bodies. He made his intentions clear after the fight.
“I need a world title shot,” Browne said. “I’m ready to take on any of the champions. I don’t have any preferences.”
Browne, though, must have some idea of who he wants to challenge for a championship. Last November, he pulled out of a WBC mandatory title eliminator with Ukrainian bruiser Oleksandr Gvozdyk. That decision and the lucky one judges handed him in 2016 over Radivoje Kalajdzic will continue to haunt him until he’s wearing gold around his waist.
Blowing away a spoiler like Ntetu was a step in the right direction.
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing