By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Shannon Briggs: Heavyweight Championship Bound?
NEW YORK — Shannon Briggs could be one victory away from fighting for a world heavyweight title. Briggs has not lost a fight since 2002 and has knocked out 11 consecutive opponents (5 first round KOs, 9 in less than three rounds).
Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KOs) will be featured in the main event of the second installment of a Cedric Kushner’s Gotham Boxing fight card at the Hammerstein Ballroom on July 27, New York City. Also, longtime heavyweight contender, David Tua (44-3-1, 38 KOs) will compete in the co-feature.
Briggs is currently ranked No. 2 by the WBO, No. 7 in the IBF, No. 8 by the WBC, and No. 10 in the WBA. Briggs has invested the time and the years to become a legitimate top-10 heavyweight title challenger during an era in which there are multiple heavyweight champions that fight once or twice a year because they cannot sell tickets.
Briggs could be in line to challenge IBF heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko as soon as November. Briggs is perhaps stronger than Sam Peter who knocked Klitschko down three times when they fought in September 2005.
Klitschko went on to out-box Sam Peter to become the IBF No. 1 contender before knocking out Chris Byrd in April 2006 to win the IBF heavyweight title.
The last time Briggs received a heavyweight title shot was in March 1998. Briggs’ challenge of then WBC champion Lennox Lewis nearly ended in the opening seconds of the first round. Briggs nearly knocked Lewis out through the ropes.
Lewis rallied behind his superior left jabs before finishing Briggs with powerful right hands. Briggs was knocked down three times as the fight was stopped in the fifth round.
Briggs has always been a big heavyweight at 6’ 4,” but his dramatic weight fluctuation appeared to have increased his punching power. Briggs was 228 when he fought Lewis. During his 11 KO-win streak, Briggs has weighed anywhere from 250 to a career-high 273 pounds.
DAVID TUA RETURNS
Managerial problems, contract disputes, and inactivity as hurt Tua’s career. Since 2003, Tua has fought only twice and has yet to appear on a fight card in 2006.
Tua began his pro career in 1992 and was compared to Mike Tyson because of his bob and weave style. Tua also possessed a deadly left-hook that knocked out John Ruiz (Boxing’s first Latino heavyweight champion) in 10 seconds, Darrol Wilson, David Izon, Oleg Maskaev, Obed Sullivan, and Michael Moorer.
Tua has had only one world title shot throughout his career. In November 2000, he looked miserable during his lopsided 12-round unanimous decision loss to the WBC/IBF heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis. Since 2001, Tua has won 6 of his last 7 fights and has a chance to reemerge in the heavyweight title hunt because of his awesome KO power.