WBA orders Briggs vs. Browne to resolve disputes
The WBA’s curious decision to have Shannon Briggs face Lucas Browne for a vacant heavyweight title was made in part as a legal concession to pacify aggrieved parties, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza seemed to suggest to RingTV.com. “My plan was to have only one heavyweight champion,” Mendoza said, “but legal settlements (changed the) WBA plans.”
The WBA made a series of rulings on Tuesday to clarify the heavyweight division after Tyson Fury vacated his belt to deal with personal issues. One decision that seemed to stump fans was the WBA’s order for Briggs to face Browne for the WBA’s “regular” title on or before Dec. 31.
Briggs is 44 and hasn’t faced anyone of significance since he lost to Vitali Klitschko in 2010. Browne won the WBA’s “regular” title after knocking out Ruslan Chagaev in March. He was subsequently stripped of the belt after he tested positive for a banned substance. Yet both are now vying for a title. Here’s a good reason why:
Browne (23-0, 16 knockouts) claimed he was unfairly stripped because he didn’t knowingly take a banned substance and filed a lawsuit against the WBA. Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs) also complained after he was mistakenly dropped in the WBA rankings from No. 4 to No. 7 “without an explanation,” according to Mendoza, which is a violation of the Muhammad Ali Act, he said. The best way to resolve these issues, Mendoza seemed to suggest, was to allow Briggs and Browne a chance to oppose each other for a vacant title.
“Lucas Browne filed a lawsuit after (the) WBA decided to strip him of the title for failing an anti-doping test,” Mendoza said in an email on Wednesday in response to a question of why Briggs and Browne are contending for a title. “The case was settled based on a title opportunity for the vacant championship bout. Shannon Briggs filed a reconsideration after being dropped from #4 to #7 without an explanation in the rankings. Since it breached the Muhammad Ali Act, Brigg’s petition was granted by the WBA Rankings Committee.”
Mendoza pointed a finger at the various manager and promoters who have filed cases against the WBA as reasons the sanctioning organization must sometimes make difficult decisions that can draw criticism. “The WBA is working in good faith and hard in order to have one champion per division,” Mendoza said. “But the conflict of interest leads several managers or promoters to the justice system in order to claim remedies sometimes unfair to the sanctioning bodies. Regarding the critics, there is not much to say for the above-mentioned reasons. There was a mistake done by one of my committee (members in regards to Briggs’ ranking) which I must (take) responsibility.”
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