Briggs’ Resurgence for Heavyweight Title Shot

By Francis Walker
Updated: December 13, 2005

NEW YORK — Shannon Briggs (45-4-1, 39 KOs) continued his quest for another world heavyweight championship fight with a 16-second knockout of undefeated Brazilian prospect, Luciano Zolyone (22-1-1, 21 KOs). It was Briggs’ fifth consecutive knockout victory in 2005 and his 27th career first-round knockout victory.

“I just need one more shot,” he said. “I’ll even fight Ruiz here in Puerto Rico.”

The last time Briggs received a world heavyweight championship match was in March 1998 in Atlantic City. NJ. Briggs nearly knocked Lennox Lewis through the ropes during the opening seconds of their WBC heavyweight title fight. Lewis rebounded to stop Briggs in round five.

After losses to undeserving Sedrick Fields (2000) and Jameel McCline (2002), Briggs was written off from the boxing world. Briggs has won his last 9 fights – all by knockout. In 2005, Briggs has knocked out all five of his opponents, including Ray Mercer. In his prime, Mercer fought and nearly defeated former heavyweight champions Lewis and Evander Holyfield.

Briggs could very well be deserving of a world heavyweight title match. Briggs’ five victories this year are more than Ruiz, Chris Byrd, and Hasim Rahman, Lamon Brewster, and Vitali Klitschko combined.

In April, Ruiz lost the WBA heavyweight title to former middleweight champion, James Toney. Ruiz would reclaim the WBA title after Toney failed a post-fight drug test for steroids.

Klitschko, the former WBC heavyweight champion, retired after suffering injuries to his knees and lower back. Rahman was awarded the WBC title after four postponements of his bout with Klitschko.

Byrd, the IBF champion, has held the title since December 2002. In 2005, Byrd has fought just once.

Brewster, the WBO champion, has two successful defenses, including an emphatic first-round KO of Andrew Golota.

Briggs, at 6’4,” 250 pounds, is an aggressive fighter with knockout power in both hands. At age 33, young for a heavyweight, is on a roll. He’s been more active than the heavyweight champions and could cause a lot of trouble in the heavyweight division. However, Briggs is ranked No. 13 in both the IBF and WBO.

Harrison loses first to Tyson-conqueror

Danny Williams (34-4, 28 KOs), the man who knocked out Mike Tyson, handed 2000 Olympian Audley Harrison (19-1, 14 KOs) his first professional loss. Williams won a close 12-round split decision on Saturday in London. Two of the three judges scored the fight 116-113 for Williams, while Harrison was ahead 114-113 on the other scorecard.

Williams’ popularity following his surprise fourth-round KO of Tyson in July 2004 was short lived. Williams was given a WBC heavyweight title shot against Vitali Klitschko in November 2004. Klitschko knocked Williams in the eighth round.

Williams has another surprise victory against a recognizable fighter, but this time it occurred against an upcoming, undefeated heavyweight contender.

“One loss is not the end of anyone’s career,” Harrison said following his loss to Williams. “It would have been nice to have retired as a world champion with a 36-0 record but it is not written like that. I still believe I have the skill, ability, heart and fortitude to be the heavyweight champion of the world.”