Klitschko, Briggs Meet At Press Conference, Trade Words!

By James Slater: World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko and his October 16th challenger Shannon Briggs met face-to-face at a press conference today in Hamburg, Germany - further hyping the fast-approaching rumble. And both men seemed utterly filled with confidence; especially Briggs!

Looking as light as he has in years, the 38-year-old even removed his top at one point, so those in attendance could see his impressive physique. “The Cannon” also looked at Klitschko as he made some big boasts. For his part, Vitali smiled and looked his usual calm self - even thanking Briggs for taking the fight at such short notice at one point. It really was the New York challenger who had all the aggressive things to say.

“I really feel for you,” Briggs said to Klitschko. “You have made a bad choice [of opponent]. You are going to meet an adversary that you have never met before. I can hit, box and dodge my opponent’s punches. I have never prepared so well for a bout. When I have finished with Vitali, they can bring on Wladimir immediately.”

It was only after Briggs had said his piece and left the table that the WBC champion was permitted to get a word in!

“It is not so easy to find an adversary for me or my brother,” Vitali said in his familiar accent. “Shannon accepted immediately to fight me and I thank him for that. But when I hear him say he is going to propel me into retirement, that just makes me laugh. I am ready and I am going to show him that I deserve to wear this belt that has been worn by Tyson, Lewis and Muhammad Ali.”

Most people already accept “Dr. Iron Fist” is a worthy WBC champion. But is Briggs a genuinely worthy challenger for the famous belt? Yes, Briggs has clearly done his work in training and his big words today seem to prove he means business - but can he really expect to beat a man who has been so active when he himself has had just four rounds of action since the summer of 2007? To me, the inactivity factor on the part of Briggs will play a huge part in the outcome of this Saturday’s fight.

Briggs has some boastful words to back up, no doubt about that, and judging by his attitude and physical condition, the former linear champ is ready to give it his best shot on Saturday evening. If, however, he was hoping to rattle the champion and get under his skin today, he failed. Vitali, as classy a guy as you could wish to find in the sport, was his usual polite, self assured self.

Personality-wise, these two are as different as can be!

Article posted on 12.10.2010

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