Growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, Shannon Briggs was no stranger to hard breaks. Before he began training at the famous Jimmy O’Pharrow’s Starrett City Boxing Club at 17, Briggs had a tough childhood and was even homeless for a period of time. As an amateur, he became National P.A.L. Champion and almost became Heavyweight champion in 1991.
After starting his professional career in 1992, Briggs wasn’t defeated until his 26th fight, when he was knocked out by the also undefeated Darroll Wilson. The 1996 fight was broadcast on HBO. After this loss, Briggs won four professional fights in a row and geared up for a title fight against George Foreman. During the controversial 1997 fight, Briggs won by unanimous decision. He then went on to challenge Lennox Lewis for the world championship title, but lost by technical knockout.
It wasn’t until 2006, when Briggs beat Serguei Lyakhovich, that he won a world heavyweight championship title. And it wasn’t long before he lost it. In 2007, Sultan Ibragimov beat him for the WBC Heavyweight Championship in 12 rounds, by the judges’ decision. The next time Briggs attempted to recapture this title was his last.
On October 16, 2010 Briggs lost his WBC title challenge fight to Vitali Klitschko. He endured a very heavy beat down for the whole 12 rounds and lost in a unanimous judges’ decision. The beating he took was so bad that he needed to be treated in intensive care. He suffered a left orbital fracture, a burst ear drum and a torn bicep in addition to a badly broken nose. Still, he is hailed for the fight, since most fighters would have thrown in the towel where Briggs showed real grit by staying up even though he was way down on points.