The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Shannon Briggs says "Bring on the Big Dogs": Norman Horton

BIG BEAR, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12, 1999 - Sharp and focused, 27 year old Shannon Briggs (31-2, 25 KOs) is poised to shake up the heavyweight division as he prepares for an August 7 meeting with South Africa's Francois Botha in a ten round bout which will be held at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and televised by Showtime Event Television pay-per-view. "I'm at a crossroads, and I'm just focusing on boxing," said Briggs from his training camp in California. "They don't consider me a young heavyweight anymore. And that's kind of good. Bring on the big dogs, the Tysons and the Holyfields."

But first, Briggs will have to get by Botha (39-2, 24 KOs), who surprised the boxing world with a strong showing in defeat against Mike Tyson. "I thought it was a good performance," said Briggs. "But it was Tyson's first fight out. He was rusty and fought Botha's fight, which made it a lot easier for him. My whole mindset is different. I feel good, and it's going to be a great fight. I'm a talented fighter with a lot of skills, and they just had to be brought out."

To help bring out these skills, legendary trainer of champions, Emmanuel Steward, will be manning the Briggs corner. And Shannon couldn't be happier. "The whole atmosphere is different. He's a much more positive person, and that's a huge factor. When you feel good about yourself, and someone believes in you, it makes a difference." And don't be surprised if a new and improved Briggs storms the Taj Mahal ring on August 7. Despite knocking out 25 of 33 opponents (18 in the first round!), Briggs believes "my biggest assets are my speed and my legs, and I'm using those now. I'm using my boxing ability instead of trying to be someone else. Knockouts will come."

Add this boxing ability to a piston-like jab, and a thumping left hook, and you may be looking at a major player in the heavyweight division. "In a year, I definitely see myself as heavyweight champion of the world. I'm developing and I'm getting older. My early career affected me in a huge way. I'm at the point where I've gotten over it, I don't look back, and I don't regret. It was all for a reason. No, I'm not undefeated anymore, but I got two learning lessons in life. I'm going into this fight to not only win, but look great in winning, and to go on to the next level."

Tickets for the Briggs-Botha bout, which headlines an exciting night of fights, are priced at $300, $200, $100, $50, and $25, and can be purchased at the Trump Taj Mahal box office or any TicketMaster outlet, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-736-1420.

Botha vs. Briggs is being promoted by Dillon Productions/Frank Warren in association with Cedric Kushner Promotions. The executive producer of the pay-per-view telecast is Jay Larkin.
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It was none other than the "Warrior" himself, heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who once predicted that Shannon Briggs, then a 19 year old amateur, was destined for greatness.

Today, Briggs, 31-2-0, 25 KOs, is firmly on course for stardom in professional boxing.

Briggs, from the same tough Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn that nurtured Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe, announced his arrival as the heavyweight division's rising star with a brilliant one-round destruction of durable Texan Sherman Griffin in Lewiston, Maine, on September 22, 1995.

The nationally televised fight, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Muhammad Ali's one-punch win over Sonny Liston in Lewiston, was scheduled for ten rounds. But it lasted only one minute and 17 seconds after Briggs, making his debut as a main event fighter, exploded at the bell with the great Ali at ringside.

"Shannon Briggs comes out and shows you something different every time out," gushed ESPN boxing analyst Dave Bontempo.

Managed by Marc Roberts, a business prodigy who guided the careers of former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer, former lightweight champion Charles Murray, and cruiserweight champion Al "Ice" Cole, Briggs is currently being trained by the legendary Emmanuel Steward.

Training in Steward's Kronk Gym in Big Bear, California, Briggs has been honing his immense natural skills.

The left jab is a key weapon in his arsenal. He also possesses a thumping left hook which he throws with amazing frequency for a heavyweight. Needless to say, Briggs punches with astounding authority in both hands.

A product of Jimmy O's Starrett City Gym, where he learned how to fight because he was always getting into fisticuffs on the streets, Briggs is a stand out among today's heavyweights. And it is not just because of his enormous potential, gold dreadlocks, and hip style that has him already transcending boxing (he has guest starred in an episode of "New York Undercover, and rapped on the Fugees' multi platinum selling album).

He is an emerging role model from a sport whose baddest contemporary practitioners walk around with sneers.

For a prize fighter who displays such deadly intent in the ring, Briggs is a compassionate and sensitive man outside of it. He takes time out from his busy training schedule to inspire school kids with some of his experiences, hoping that it might keep them on the straight and narrow.

Briggs, once a victim of homelessness, speaks out passionately against its demoralizing effects, whenever he has the opportunity to address kids. He's also equally articulate about negative "gangster rap" music, and is a strong believer in education.

On March 16th of 1996, Shannon Briggs suffered his first loss as a professional, at the hands of undefeated, highly rated, Darroll Wilson. Shannon rebounded from the setback against Wilson with five straight victories-four by knockout and one a monumental twelve round decision win over the legendary George Foreman on November 22, 1997.

The victory over Foreman was Shannon's most monumental victory- winning the linear heavyweight championship. In a close fight, Briggs managed to sustain all of Foreman's power punches and fight back to win a majority decision.

This win earned Briggs a shot at the WBC heavyweight title. On March 27, 1998, Briggs challenged Lewis, and managed to hurt him in round one, leaving the champion reeling helplessly around the ring. Lewis survived the round though, and a slugfest ensued. Briggs was eventually defeated in round five, but his courageous effort won him a new legion of fans, as well as much deserved respect from the boxing media.

On December 8, Briggs walked through Marcus Rhode, scoring a first round knockout, his 25th win via KO...It was also the 18th time he'd iced an opponent in the first round.

On August 7, Shannon Briggs makes his pay-per-view television debut with an important bout against South Africa's durable contender, Francois Botha. For Briggs, a true crossover star who has appeared on Hot 97 radio in New York, The Howard Stern Show, MTV, BET, and in Vogue magazine, Top Model, Details, and The Source, it is the opportunity of a lifetime, and another step towards his dream of a world heavyweight championship.

For some recent articles on Shannon Briggs:

The Cyber Boxing Zone -Q&A with Shannon Briggs

Boxing Mania - Spotlight on Shannon Briggs

Boxing Wise - Shannon Briggs

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