"I deserve an immediate shot at the WBC Light Heavyweight Title"
Following on from his stirring defeat of WBC NO 3 rated contender Stipe Drews in a unanimous decision at the State Sports Centre in Sydney, Australia, in the final elimination bout for the WBC Light Heavyweight championship, Paul Briggs has called on the WBC and current light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver to grant him an immediate shot at the title.
Briggs (who defeated the Croatian Drews, 115-109, 117-105 and 113-109 in what turned into one of the dirtiest boxing fights in recent history with Drews receiving three separate penalties for fouls) is looking forward to the future and to immediately preparing for his most deserved shot at the championship.
Speaking from his post fight holiday on the Gold Coast in Australia, Briggs and his management team have spoken of their desire to take on Antonio Tarver before the end of 2004.
Paul Briggs, the WBC Number 1 rated contender said:
"I am so happy to have defeated Stipe Drews in front of my home fans in order to cement myself as the true mandatory contender to the WBC light heavyweight title.
"I have dreamed, and more importantly worked hard, every single day for the last 6 years to be in the position I am in now and I could not be happier. My whole career I have focused on earning my shot at the WBC light heavyweight world title. I have never asked to be given a shot, I have never asked the WBC for special treatment, I wanted to earn my opportunity so that when I reached this position I was truly ready, and I am."
"I have read with great interest and respect, the comments of the current champion Antonio Tarver in recent months and weeks.
Antonio Tarver has said: "If all else fails, I'm ready to defend and honor my championship, the WBC championship, as well as the Ring Magazine Championship. I'm ready to defend against anyone whose willing to step up that has proven themselves worthy." "I understand this is a tough game but I'm not going to sit on my laurels and protect my status. I won't do that, there will be no Roy Jones bum of the month circuit. - I am working to cement my LEGACY. I am a TRENDSETTER." "Its out with the old and in with the new. People are stepping up and its time for people to realize that there's a new era in boxing"
- Antonio Tarver, boxingtalk.net 08/16/04
"In response to these statements from Antonio Tarver I would say the following:
'It is refreshing to hear such statements from a world champion. There is no doubt that Antonio Tarver is a worthy world champion and an ambassador for the sport of boxing. If Antonio Tarver is a true champion and a man of his word then lets get this fight on before the end of the year. I am calling on Antonio Tarver to defend and honor his WBC championship both for himself and his own credibility and legacy, and also for the WBC, the organization that gave him a second opportunity to achieve his dreams on May 15. I have defeated 4 top ten rated WBC opponents in order to become the challenger. I have ducked nobody, I have taken every risk imaginable to get to this position and I want this fight.'
'I have heard that Antonio Tarver is looking at a rubber match with Roy Jones Jnr if Roy defeats Glencoffe Johnson in September. To me, this is against everything that the WBC and Antonio Tarver have been saying to me personally and in public about the future of the light heavyweight division. Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jnr lll is a step back for the sport and for the light heavyweight division, it is time to move forward. Antonio Tarver vs. Paul Briggs is about the future and about the integrity of the sport of boxing. To the 'man on the street' boxing has lost its honor and integrity because the 'business of boxing continually comes before the sport of boxing'. What the public want to see is a new champion in Antonio Tarver fighting a new and worthy contender in Paul Briggs, it is as simple as that!.'
'I agree that there is a new era in world boxing. There are some incredible young, hungry boxers emerging in the sport who are not only great boxers, but also great people, true ambassadors for the sport. They are true warriors who take the hard fights, make the tough decisions and don't turn boxing into a 'bum of the month circuit'. I believe that I can stand alongside these boxers because their philosophy is my philosophy.'"
Paul Briggs' managers Geoffrey Schuhkraft and Mark Jones from ON Corporation have echoed the thoughts of Paul Briggs in saying to the WBC and Antonio Tarver:
"Given the unwavering support that Paul Briggs has demonstrated in recent months to the WBC, we expect the WBC will grant their most worthy challenger in recent history an immediate shot at the title. When the WBC was going through its recent turmoil Paul Briggs stood firm and stated publicly on many occasions that he was going to fight his final eliminator for the WBC title, despite receiving a number of offers to fight for other sanctioning organizations. He has shown admirable loyalty and commitment to the WBC. Paul Briggs and ourselves have also met personally with the President Mr Jose Sulaiman and we are confident that the President and the Board of Governors will recognize that Paul Briggs represents the new era of the WBC and a new future shaped by truly worthy champions accepting the challenge put to them by immediately mandating Tarver vs. Briggs for the light heavyweight championship."
"In his last five fights he has faced and beaten 4 fighters who were rated in the WBC top 10 when the fight took place. Glen Kelly, Jorge Castro, Jesus Ruiz and Stipe Drews have not been able to stand in the way of Paul Briggs. Many fighters become the mandatory challenger through attrition and through handpicking their opponents. Paul Briggs has fought the tough, the awkward, the dirty, the very best the WBC could put before him all for one reason - to earn a shot for the green belt".