*Updated: Check out TSL Sports Talk's exclusive interview with Marcus Browne below:
Marcus Browne is about as New York City as it gets.
The 23-year old light heavyweight from Staten Island will take on Kevin Engel, his first opponent with legitimate names on his resume, on Saturday at the Barclays Center as a part of the stacked under card for the welterweight bout between two other born-and-bred New Yorkers, Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi.
The fight marks his fifth time fighting at the new arena in Brooklyn, and seventh time fighting in New York City out of what will be his eighth fight. He loves fighting in front of his home town. In fact, the one time he didn’t, he made sure he got out of there early, knocking Ritchie Cherry down three times and eventually out in the first round out in Los Angeles.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Browne in his thick New York accent on a phone interview with The Shadow League. “The Barclays Center just opened so it was perfect timing for me. I’m just taking it one fight at a time, just trying to build my fan base in New York City where I live.”
So far, Browne’s pro career has been a lot like his amateur career: highly successful. The three-time New York City Golden Gloves Champion and 2012 National Amateur Boxing Champion has won all of his professional fights thus far, with six of seven coming by way of knockout.
Browne was also a member of the now-infamous 2012 US Olympic Team, the first US boxing team not to secure a medal since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1904. He almost didn’t make the cut after failing to qualify at the 2011 World Championships, and could have turned pro after receiving multiple offers from promoters. But Browne stayed the course and won the Americas Qualifier in Brazil, ensuring his spot on the team.
It’s a good thing he did, otherwise Browne might not be the well-rounded boxer he is today, or have earned his nickname, Sir. Though Browne has natural power, the ability to hit people without taking punishment is learned in the amateur ranks, where headgear makes it much more difficult to earn a KO, encouraging kids to learn the art of stick-and-move.
“Before I started knocking people out I was actually a great boxer,” said Browne. “I love to box, to hit people and not get hit.”
That trip to London in 2012 turned out to be inspirational, even if it didn’t bear the fruits of a medal. Asked how he got his nickname, Browne responded, “I Knighted myself when I went to England.”
Hilarious, but the modest southpaw isn’t full of himself and doesn’t see the point in talking trash—possibly the one trait that separates him from his NYC brethren. He won an NAACP award for contributions to Staten Island before his last fight for being a positive role model and giving back to his community. Despite being surrounded by two Hall of Fame trash-talkers, Malignaggi and Judah, Browne chooses not to partake in the festivities…yet.
“I’m not really the trash talking type,” said Browne. “I just like to go into the ring and handle what I gotta handle. Trash talking, of course, comes later, but I’m not really selling fights yet, so I’m just staying focused on the gameplan.”
That day may come soon. Browne has already appeared on Fox Sports 1 and will make his Showtime debut on Saturday night. Many fighters would kill for such an opportunity so early in a professional career, and Browne hopes to take full advantage. He’s got a regional or national belt in his sights for 2014, and hopes to be competing for world titles in 2015.
But for now, Engel is all he’s focused on.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time and staying focused on the gameplan,” said Browne. “If the knockout is there I’ll take it, and if not I’ll box his ears off.”