We already know how 2018 started for Marcus Browne. The unbeaten light heavyweight has a clear vision of where he plans to take it from here.
“I want a world title shot,” said Browne. “That’s going to continue to be my mindset.”
Browne offered the latest evidence that he’s ready for that shot with his first-round demolition of Francy Ntetu on January 20 at Barclays Center, fighting on the undercard of Errol Spence’s welterweight title defense against Lamont Peterson.
A quick right-left combination put Ntetu on the mat midway through the first round. After Ntetu returned to the fight, Browne soon had him on the ropes, ripping away until the referee stopped the fight 2:15 into the first round.
“I don’t train for a knockout,” said Browne, who nevertheless chalked up his 16th KO in 21 professional fights. “Walked him into the left hand and closed the distance on him. I got his timing and the measurement and caught him on the sweet spot.”
The victory over Ntetu was Browne’s latest against an elevated level of competition. His last four opponents entered the ring against him with combined career records of 86-3. Against Browne they went 0-4.
It started in April 2016 against Radivoje Kalajdzic at Barclays Center. Browne came away with a win by split decision, triumphing by a single point on the decisive judge’s card. It was the closest margin of his career.
“That fight right there, it woke me up and showed me you can’t take anything for granted and you’ve got to train for anybody as if they’re a world champion,” said Browne. “That’s my mentality moving forward and you could see the results.”
He followed up by taking on world championship challenger Thomas Williams Jr., coming off a title fight loss. Browne won every round, registering knockdowns in the second and fourth rounds before finishing the fight with a sixth-round knockout.
Next came unbeaten Seanie Monaghan in a co-headline bout at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Browne dropped Monaghan with a right hook less than a minute into the fight. It was over in the second round after a left-right combination that was prescient of the eventual win over Ntetu.
“It was the same thing with the left hand,” said Browne. “The straight left hand caught him and that was the beginning of the end.
A Staten Island native, Browne has fought 12 times at Barclays Center. His career has run parallel to the growth of BROOKLYN BOXING. After representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London, Browne made his professional debut in November 2012, just a few weeks after the first BROOKLYN BOXING card at Barclays Center.
He was in attendance that night in October 2012, and in the ring four months later for the second BROOKLYN BOXING event in March 2013. He’s appeared in the ring at Barclays Center more times than any other boxer, fighting more than half of his career bouts less than 15 miles from where he grew up.
“It’s a gift,” said Browne. “I appreciate Brett Yormark, Al Haymon and everybody involved; Showtime, PBC, everybody giving me the opportunity to display my talents on that platform. It’s been a blessing to me.”
The 27-year-old has been in the ring for 15 years, starting in a neighborhood gym in Staten Island’s Park Hill neighborhood. A trip to the junior Olympic nationals in 2005 started to give him the sense that he had a future in boxing. Browne was disqualified in that tournament, but the next month in Kansas City he beat both of the junior Olympic national finalists.
That made him feel like he was No. 1 in the country. He went on to win two Golden Gloves titles and earn his Olympic berth before embarking on a journey in search of the biggest prize.
“I was just a fighting kid anyway in Park Hill,” said Browne. “I met my trainer Gary Stark and the rest is history. We won multiple titles together; nationals, went to Olympics, and now we’re trying to fulfill the dream on the professional level. That’s the goal, to be a champion on every level.”
In his sixth year as a pro, Browne is ready to make that a reality soon. Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev are the current holders of light heavyweight championship belts. Browne is ready to take on whichever one he can get.
“I’ve got next,” said Browne. “I’m ready to fulfill my destiny.”