- 2-Time Heavyweight Boxing Champion
- Diagnosed with Asthma
- Inspirational Story
Born on December 4, 1971 in the same Brownsville area that produced
heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe, Shannon Briggs
followed along their path when he realized a lifelong dream on
November 4, 2006. Briggs, trailing behind on the judges' scorecards,
earned a devastating eleventh-round TKO of Sergui Liakhovich at 2:59
seconds of the twelfth round to win the World Boxing Organization
Winning the WBO title and being called a heavyweight champion was
perhaps the most satisfying and equally crowning achievement in his
life. Briggs became the first asthmatic fighter to win a world
Briggs had a very difficult childhood. As an only child growing up
with a disease, his mother Margie, a nurse, was a heroin addict.
Briggs never knew is father and his stepfather had died in prison.
Briggs was so ill with his asthma, he missed many days of school.
Briggs' life was so disturbing, he actually became homeless and
wandered the mean streets of New York City for a while.
Briggs could have easily turned to drug addiction and alcohol abuse
while living as a homeless wonder. Instead, Briggs had unique and
promising visions of becoming a successful person.
Briggs found solace in boxing one day, as he entered Jimmy O's
Starrett City Gym. Briggs quickly became comfortable hitting the
punching bag, shadow boxing, sparring, and jumping rope like any other
fighter. It was through boxing that Briggs gave himself the
opportunity to become a success story.
After a stellar amateur career that included a New York Daily Golden
Gloves title, an Empire State Games championship, a national PAL
crown, and a silver medal in the Pan Am Games. On July 24, 1992 in
Catskill, NY, the place where Tyson formed a solid relationship with
the late Cus D'Amato, Briggs began his professional career at age 20.
Briggs, at 6' 4," had a unique combination of power and hand speed, as
he knocked out 10 of his first 12 opponents in the first round. Briggs
was labeled as a young heavyweight on the rise.
Aside from boxing, Briggs also became a public figure outside the
squared-circle. Briggs had important acting roles in hit movies Bad
Boys 2 and Transporter 2. He also guess starred on the television
series "New York Undercover." Briggs' rap vocals can be heard on the
Fugees' 1996 multiplatinum CD, "The Score." Briggs was also a model
for the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York.
1995 was a breakout year for Briggs. Fighting on national television,
Briggs won hard fought decisions over Craig Payne and seasoned veteran
Marion Wilson. Briggs also amassed first round knockout victories
against Will Hinton, Sherman Griffin, and Calvin Jones.
With a record of 25-0, 20 KOs, with 15 knockouts occurring in the
first round, Briggs' reputation as a "vicious puncher" soared. Briggs'
first loss occurred on March 15, 1996. Briggs was overwhelmed by an
asthma attack in a fight he was easily winning against Darroll Wilson.
Some of the greatest fighters, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis,
Sugar Ray Robinson, and Sugar Ray Leonard, have all lost. Briggs was
determined to prove that greatness is not only determined by how many
fights you win, but rather how you rebound from a loss.
Following the loss to Wilson, Briggs scored four consecutive knockout
victories and carried his momentum into a battle with the legendary
George Foreman for the linear world heavyweight championship on
November 22, 1997. Briggs, out of at least two dozen other heavyweight
contenders, was selected as the most creditable and challenging
opponent for Foreman, a former two-time world heavyweight champion.
Briggs' power and hand speed provided the then 48-year-old Foreman
with a compelling challenge. A victory against the legendary Foreman
would propel Briggs toward the top of the heavyweight division. After
12-hard fought rounds, Briggs edged Foreman, via majority decision.
The judges scored the bout 117-111, 116-112 for Briggs, and 114-114
Briggs' next fight was an even bigger challenge. On March 28, 1998,
Briggs challenged Lennox Lewis for the WBC heavyweight championship.
Briggs' presented a rare challenge for Lewis, who at 6' 5," 245
pounds, rarely stared at an opponent that was as tall, strong, and
perhaps faster than himself.
Lewis, very cautious of Briggs' right hand, was caught off guard by
the challenger's left hook to the head. Lewis wobbled and nearly went
through the ropes in the very first round. Briggs followed his assault
with a vicious barrage of left and right hooks to Lewis' head and
body. Briggs was literally one punch away from taking the world
heavyweight championship away from Lewis in what proved to be one of
the most exciting heavyweight title fights in the last decade.
During the next several years, Briggs lingered around the top
10 dreaming of one day having another chance to fight for a world
heavyweight championship. Briggs remained busy defeating a series of
heavyweight contenders, but after several years removed from his war
with Lewis, Briggs realized that he needed to do something significant
to earn a title shot.
During 2002-06, Briggs remained busy by taking on all
comers in a series of off-TV bouts while touring North America with
hopes of earning another title shot. During Briggs' climb toward the
top, each of WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight championships were
held by European fighters from the former Soviet Union for the first
time in boxing history.
Briggs was determined to break the European grasp of the
world heavyweight championships, as he had amassed twelve consecutive
knockout victories including a dramatic knockout of Liakhovich to win
the WBO title.
In Briggs' first defense on June 2, in Atlantic City, NJ,
the asthmatic Briggs entered the fight diagnosed with having
pneumonia. Briggs lost the WBO title on a 12-round decision to
unbeaten Sultan Ibragimov, who couldn't hurt the sickly champion who
didn't enter the fight at 100%.
Briggs is back and ready to resume his career as one of
the best heavyweights in boxing. Briggs, a vicious puncher with
knockout power in both hands, is ready to go through the elite of the
heavyweight division showing no mercy to reclaim what's his - the
world heavyweight championship for a 3rd time