Briggs-Ibragimov formally announced for MSG


Briggs-Ibragimov formally announced for MSG

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Press Release:  It’s the first heavyweight championship fight of 2007, and on Saturday night, March 10th, at Madison Square Garden’s Theater in New York City, Sultan Ibragimov hopes to take his first step towards becoming the sport’s next great heavyweight when he challenges hometown hero and champion Shannon Briggs for the WBO heavyweight championship.

“Sultan Ibragimov is an exciting young fighter and he’s earned his title shot,” said Briggs, “but there’s no way I’m giving up my belt, and absolutely no chance of me losing in front of my hometown fans.  I’m here to stay, and Ibragimov’s gonna have to chase after another belt, because he’s not getting mine.”

Said Ibragimov, “The road to get here wasn’t easy and I made a lot of sacrifices, but on March 10th I expect that all my hard work will pay off when I get to put the WBO heavyweight championship belt around my waist.”

A 2000 Olympic Silver medalist for Russia, Sultan Ibragimov (19-0-1, 16 KOs) turned pro in 2002 with a first round knockout of Tracy Williams – in fact, his first four fights ended in opening round victories.  By 2004, Ibragimov relocated to Florida and began making a name for himself on the US scene.  He won the WBO Asia-Pacific title in October of 2004 by knocking out Najee Shaheed in the third round, and he defended that crown six times.  Among his victims were former world champion Al Cole and contenders Lance Whitaker and Zuri Lawrence.

In July of 2006, Ibragimov battled Ray Austin in one of the best heavyweight fights of 2006 and after trading knockdowns, a 12 round draw verdict was rendered. 

A longtime contender known for his charisma and knockout power, Shannon Briggs (48-4-1, 42 KOs) has been a pro since 1992, but amazingly, he’s only 35 years old.  A native of the same Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood that produced Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe, Briggs was a can’t miss prospect as he moved up the pro ranks.  But after he suffered his first loss to Darroll Wilson in 1996, the bandwagon emptied.

Briggs stood the course though, winning his next five fights, including a decision over the legendary George Foreman.  That victory earned him a shot at world champion Lennox Lewis in March of 1998, and even though Briggs was stopped in five rounds, his championship heart earned him a new legion of fans.

After a rollercoaster series of fights over the next few years, Briggs did some serious soul searching and began on the road back to the title, winning 12 fights in a row, all by knockout.  The capper, of course, was his stirring 12th round TKO win over Sergei Liakhovich last November, and now in 2007, fight fans have not only a charismatic champion at the helm of the division, but a hungry and talented challenger waiting to take that belt away. 

“Sultan Ibragimov has long been seen as the future of the heavyweight division, and we’re pleased to finally announce that the future is here,” said Leon Margules, Executive Director of Seminole Warriors Boxing Promotions.  “And I can’t think of a better place to crown a new champion than in the Garden, where legends like Muhammad Ali, Joe Joe Frazier, Joe Louis, and Rocky Marciano all thrilled fight fans.”

An exciting undercard will be announced at a later date. HBO will televise this twelve-round showdown - which is presented by Seminole Warriors Boxing Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions, and Golden Grain, in association with Madison Square Garden – live beginning at 10pm ET / on delay 10pm PT.

To purchase tickets to Briggs-Ibragimov, please call Ticketmaster: 212-307-7171, or visit the Garden Box Office or