From Turmoil To Triumph: Shannon Briggs Makes His Mark

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 14, 2006

NEW YORK — Shannon Briggs (48-4-1, 42 KOs ) is the newly crowned WBO heavyweight champion. Briggs road to a heavyweight championship title wasn’t easy.

The 34-year-old native of Brownsville , Brooklyn , NY overcame many unexpected setbacks and upsets to emerge from an unranked bottomless pit to the top of the food chain in the heavyweight division.

Briggs is currently on a 12-fight knockout streak, the longest of his 14-year career. On Nov. 4, Briggs was behind on all three judges scorecards heading into the final round against Sergui Liakhovich.

In the final 30 seconds of the fight, Briggs landed a couple of powerful right hands that sent Liakhovich down twice. The second knockdown sent Liakhovich through the ropes onto the arena floor.

“2:59 in the 12th round, it wasn’t me” Briggs said emphatically. “It was destiny, but I knew this was a guy I would knockout”

“I would have KO’d him, killed [Liakhovich] between one to three rounds. My asthma kicked in.”

Briggs has dealt with asthma throughout his life. According to Briggs, it was because of his asthma and not stamina problems that caused him to suffer shocking defeats to Darrol Wilson (a fight he was dominating before it was stopped in the third round) and undeserving Sedrick Fields (77-75 twice and 76-76).

“The world hasn’t seen the best of Shannon Briggs. Against Darroll Wilson, I ran out of gas. It’s impossible to run out of gas as good as shape I was in. My asthma kicked in.”

Briggs came close to winning the WBC heavyweight championship in March 1998 when he stunned Lennox Lewis with a barrage of punches in the opening seconds of the fight.

Briggs nearly knocked Lewis through the ropes. But Lewis, the more experienced boxer at the time, cleverly boxed his way back into the fight and stopped Briggs in the fifth round.

“A lot of people try to slander me and knock me down,” Briggs said with serious tone. “I never quit in a fight. If I lost, I lost. I was put on with a lot of tags and came through it. I have asthma and I overcame it.”

Since winning the WBO title, it hasn’t been two weeks and already two fighters are knocking on the door for a title shot.

Briggs was given notice by the WBO to defend his title against No. 1-ranked Sultan Ibragimov within 90 days of winning the championship. Also, Liakhovich is reportedly planning a protest of the stoppage and will plan to back Briggs into an immediate rematch. But Briggs isn’t worried at all.

“I’m not interested in fighting Ibragimov,” Briggs said. He’s a good strong fighter and all, but he lost to Ray Austin. I want Klitschko, Valuev, and Maskaev.

“I want the Klitschko, but he turned me down. Valuev said no. People want to see one undisputed champion. I’m interested in unifying the titles. I can beat their asses!”

Briggs agrees that there should only be one world heavyweight champion. That means all of the champions have to fight each other. Even Vitali Klitschko, the older brother of IBF champion Wladimir said that a Klitschko-Briggs fight “would be huge” at Madison Square Garden .

Before Briggs defeated Liakhovich, he initially agreed to fight Wladimir for his title at the Garden. However, the fight obviously didn’t go through as planned.

“They wanted the Banker,” Briggs said making reference to Wladmir Klitschko’s seventh round knockout against Calvin Brock, a former Financial Analyst for Bank of America. “[Klitschko] fought the banker that looks like a doorman.”

Briggs said that he fought Klitschko: “You have to make it a street fight. Rough it up, make it nasty. [Klitschko] is a doctor. He wants a nice clean surgery.”