One-on-One with Shannon Briggs

By Brad Cooney


One-on-One with Shannon Briggs caught up with newly crowned WBO Heavyweight Champion Shannon Briggs. Shannon has had a few days to reflect on how much his life has changed since knocking the former champ Sergei Liakhovich out of the boxing ring. Briggs gives the Boxingtalk readers his thoughts on the fight, and what may lay ahead for him in the near future.


BT - First and foremost let me welcome THE NEW WBO Heavyweight Champion Shannon Briggs.

SB - Thank you Big Brad, I am happy to be here. We have been talking a long time, Brad, and I told you a while back that my goal was to be Heavyweight champion of the world, and I did that.

BT - Big Briggs talk about the fight a little bit, talk about that first round where you hurt him.

SB - Yea I almost got him out of there in the first round. It was funny because a couple of nights before the fight I was doing some stretching and I lost my breath. It bothered me a little bit, it was in my head. I hit the guy with a few bombs, and I caught him good and I realized that I could hurt him easy. I realized that he couldn't take my best punch. I have asthma as you know Brad, and in that first round my lungs tightened up on me. I have had a lot of people criticize me for not having stamina, but it's not stamina, it's a breathing problem. Mike Tyson didn't have asthma, Ali didn't, Jack Johnson didn't but Shannon Briggs does. I did what I had to do, it was a rough situation having dealing with the asthma, and having to get through that first round.

BT - Shannon after you hurt him in the first round, I thought Serguei had to rethink his game-plan and respect your power a lot more. Am I right to assume that the whole game-plan of the fight changed at that point, and that is why there wasn't a lot of action ?

SB - Definitely, my thing is he was saying that he fought Brewster and he was saying Brewster was the hardest puncher in the division. That can't be further from the truth, he never got hit by Shannon Briggs. I know I am a harder puncher than Brewster, I know Brewster can hit but none of these guys can punch like me. Once he felt my power he was more cautious, and when he jumped in it cost him.

BT - You seemed to catch him a lot as he jumped in, was that part of your game-plan Shannon ?

SB - Definitely because he had a 74 inch reach, and my reach is 81 inches. It gets back to the asthma again, if I didn't have to deal with asthma, I would have gotten him out of there in the 1st round, no more than three rounds. There is no way possible that he could have went more than three rounds. I was hurting him with jabs, I was hurting him to the body as well. There is no way he would have been able to take my power. I am blessed with my talent, and I think I am one of the best fighters of all time. I know I sound like I am sucking my own dick, but you know what? I fight with a breathing disorder, and I am the Heavyweight Champion of The World.

BT - Big Briggs talk about the first knockdown.

SB - I was catching him coming in. In the 11th round I caught him with some strong jabs and I was timing him with my right hand in the 11th round. I felt like George Foreman when he fought Michael Moorer at one point, he seen his shot and kept trying to land the hook to set up his right hand.
BT - After the first knockdown did you have a second to say in your head 'man I am about to become the world champion'?

SB - I looked up at the clock and I was like 'wow, I don't have much time, it's now or never'. I remember thinking that the bell was about to ring, and it's now or never. He's a tough kid, and he didn't want to give up that title. Serguei took some big shots, and I hope he's ok.

BT -  Briggs you knocked the guy out of the ring with like a second left (laughing), it doesn't get much more dramatic than that, it's the equivalent of a walk of home run in baseball. What was going through your mind when he fell out of the ring ?

SB -  I was happy (laughs). At that point I couldn't believe it. All oxygen was out of me, everything was pure determination, and I understood that it was now or never, and I knew my life would be defined by that moment. I was saying (I am going to keep punching until I fall out), and thankfully, he fell out first.

BT -  After the referee waived the fight off, I watched you as you went right over to your corner and basically collapsed, the asthma was pretty bad still wasn't it?

SB - Yea, it was real bad. I had to go the hospital the next day for breathing treatment. It's discouraging Brad to be ridiculed the way I have over the years. If you don't have asthma you don't understand how hard it is, especially being a professional boxer with it. Most injuries in boxing is  because of a lack of oxygen, and that's what having asthma is. I heard the broadcaster talking about me not having heart? I have a question for him, what fight did I show no heart in? I may have lost, but it wasn't because of no heart. I have been fighting all of my life, and all of my life with asthma. I became the Heavyweight Champion, and this is a lesson for all of those who are told they can't do something. If you want something bad enough, you can get it.

BT - Talk about Scott Hirsch, this guy stuck by you for a long time. Talk about your relationship with Scott Hirsch.

SB - Scott is a very powerful and intelligent man. Scott is also asthmatic, so we have that in common. Scott knows how it is, we got together and our goal from day one was to stay busy, and fight our way back to the top. Scott paid my bills and kept me afloat, he's a guy that maximizes from the beginning. Scott sent me to all of the boxing conventions, and he understood that I had to be out there to keep my name alive. Scott was lining me up for this moment, and I am glad that I came through for him.

BT - Have you had any time to reflect on all of this Briggs? You're the WBO heavyweight champion.

SB - Not really, I haven't had much sleep. I was walking in Times Square, and everybody was blowing their horns at me, it was crazy. I can't believe how many people tuned in to the fight. So many people came up to me in the streets of New York saying 'Champ you did it, you brought the title back home'. I am happy man, people were telling me that I showed a lot of heart. I have had a rough life Brad, my mom died of a heroin overdose, my dad died in prison. I have had it rough, living in the streets, in and out of prison. I had to make a choice, be a criminal or be a boxer. I can say, I decided to do something with my life.

BT - What's next champ? Sultan Ibragimov is the mandatory.

SB - I'm not really interested in that fight unless I have to. My real interest is unification, I'm not too interested in fighting this guy. As far as Lyakhovich, he gave me the opportunity, and I have no problem with a rematch. I will kick his ass right here in New York City.

BT - Shannon is there anything that you would like to say to the boxingtalk fans in closing?

SB - We did it man, we did it.


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