Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



Wladimir Klitschko, Alex Leapai endure Shannon Briggs at presser


Former heavyweight titleholder Shannon Briggs disrupted a Tuesday news conference on in Duesseldorf, Germany, demanding a title shot at Wladimir Klitschko in advance of the titleholders April 26 defense of his RING, IBF, WBA and WBO championships against Alex Leapai.

The news was reported by The Associated Press.

Click here for a video of Shannon Briggs crashing the Wladimir Klitschko-Alex Leapai press conference

Briggs lost his last title shot to then-WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko, who issued a brutally one-sided unanimous decision that left the New Yorker hospitalized in October 2010.

Briggs eventually left teh Klitschko-Leapai presser after being pushed back by security, according to the AP, as Klitschko restrained Leapai, joking, "I have never had to hold back my opponent at a press conference before."

It was the second such disturbance by Briggs, 42, who similarly approached Klitschko during his training camp a few weeks back.

The 34-year-old Leapai (30-4-3, 24 knockouts) will represent the 25th title fight and the 17th defense for Klitschko (61-3, 52 KOs), who has been knocked out in the 11th round by Ross Puritty in December 1998, the second round by Corrie Sanders in March 2003, and the fifth round by Lamon Brewster in April 2004.

But since falling to Brewster, a loss he avenged by sixth-round knockout in July 2007, Klitschko has won 19 consecutive bouts, 13 of them by stoppage, having last been in action for a unanimous decision over Alexander Povetkin last October.

"We will see an exciting fight with a lot of action. I am sure, that our fight will be spectacular," said Klitschko, who turned 38 last month, in a prepared statement. "His style of boxing can be compared to Mike Tyson's style. I am happy to hear that he is prepared for twelve rounds, but we are on a total different level technically. I will defeat him on Saturday."

In Leapai, Klitschko faces a 34-year-old, 6-foot fighter who is coming off November's unanimous decision victory over Denis Boytsov, who was floored in the seventh and ninth rounds.
"You are getting the best show you are able to watch. I am here to win. I have been dreaming about this for many years. Everybody will see this fight and we will write history," said Leapai, whose trainer, Noel Thornberry, said Leapai "will be the first Australian heavyweight Champion. He will take this chance to win four titles."

No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap following a 12th-round technical knockout of Sergei Liakovich that November before losing it by unanimous decision Sultan Ibragimov in his next fight in June of that year.

In 2006, Hasim Rahman, of Baltimore, held the WBC belt while the IBF title was held by Chris Byrd. Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz, from Massachusetts, was the first Latino to hold a heavyweight belt when he became the WBA champ in 2005. 

Vitali Klitschko's retirement in December set up a fight for the vacant title on May 10 between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne, the latter of whom unanimously decisioned Arreola last April.