Boxing

Wladimir Klitschko Ambushed by Crazed Shannon Briggs at Chaotic Presser

Former heavyweight world champion Shannon Briggs of the United States, left, shows up at a press conference of boxer Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine, right,  during a press conference ahead of Klitschko's  IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA heavyweight title bout against  challenger Alex Leapai from Australia-Samoa in Duesseldorf, Germany, April 22, 2014. Briggs demanded a title fight against Klitschko in the US. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Former heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs disrupted Wladimir Klitschko's press conference ahead of his bout with Samoan-Australian Alex Leapai in Oberhausen, Germany on Saturday and challenged the Ukrainian to a fight.

In a bizarre turn of events the 42-year-old American interrupted Klitschko in the press room and began shouting at the heavyweight champion, eventually taking his shirt off and throwing it at the 38-year-old:

As reported by Thom Drake in the Daily MailBriggs said:

You're fighting him [Leapai] and not fighting me! [...]

Come on champ! Come on champ! You ain't no champ! [...]

I ask around the town: ''Do you know who Wladimir Klitschko is?'' and nobody knows. That's right baby, I'm still here. You know me. 27 years in the game!

At one point Briggs attempted to get closer to the podium and to Klitschko, but he was prevented from doing so by others in the room.

Klitschko remained calm, smiling at the American while he continued his shouting. Meanwhile, Leapai got up from his seat and shouted back at Briggs that he would take him on after his fight with the Ukrainian.

And, as reported in the New York Daily News, Klitschko joked that he had to restrain the 34-year-old fighter:

"I have never had to hold back my opponent at a press conference before," he said.

Briggs lost to Klitschko's brother Vitali in a WBC heavyweight title bout back in October 2010, after which he was hospitalised. It was his sixth defeat from 58 fights, per BBC Sport.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17:  Alex Leapai trains during a sparring session at The Corporate Box Gym on April 17, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. Leapai is in training for his April 26th World Heavyweight title bout in Germany against Wladmir Klitschko.  (
Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The New Yorker famously beat George Foreman in Atlantic City in 1997 in what would prove to be the legendary Texan boxer's final fight of his career.

Leapai is not expected to cause Klitschko any problems on Saturday when the Ukrainian will look to defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.

Indeed, there are many who may potentially agree with Briggs that Klitschko is not facing a worthy challenger in the relatively unknown Australian. Certainly that is the view of Laceup Boxing:

However, a future fight between Klitschko and Briggs is highly unlikely especially after this stunt from the American.

British boxers Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury both have designs on a future collision with Klitschko, the latter of whom would certainly make for a more challenging opponent than Briggs.

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