Briggs Stops Liakhovich With One Second Remaining TO Win WBO Heavyweight title

Shannon BriggsPhoto by Tom Casino / Showtime - Shannon Briggs (right) lands a shot to the head of WBO Heavyweight Champion Sergei Liakhovich (left) Saturday on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. Briggs scored a dramatic TKO victory with one second remaining in the contest at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. SHOWTIME televised the fight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Less than 30 seconds separated Sergei Liakhovich from the first defense of his world heavyweight title Saturday on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. Ahead on all three scorecards, the champion only had to survive the 12th round to retain his crown for the first time. In a shocking turn of events, however, he ended the evening on the scorer’s table at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. Visibly struggling for breath throughout the world championship match due to asthma, Shannon Briggs scored one of the most dramatic knockouts in recent years when he stopped Liakhovich at 2:59 of the final round to capture the World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight crown. SHOWTIME televised the Don King-promoted fight card at 9 p.m. ET/PT

With 26 seconds remaining, Briggs (48-4-1, 42 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., floored Liakhovich with a powerful right-left combination to the head. The dazed champion rose from the canvas and held on to the ropes to catch his breath. Seconds later, Briggs landed a punishing right hand to Liakhovich’s head that left him stunned. Even though Briggs did not land another shot, the cumulative effect of the punches took their toll on the champion as he went crashing through the ropes and landed on the scorer’s table. Referee Bobby Ferrara stopped the contest with one second remaining.

With Liakhovich (23-2, 14 KOs), of Scottsdale, Ariz., ahead by the scores 106-103 twice and 105-104, Briggs knew that he had to do something dramatic in the 12th round to win his first world title in his second appearance.

“My corner kept telling me that I was losing the fight,” said Briggs, who knocked out his 12th consecutive opponent. “They said that if I didn’t turn it around, I would lose.”

A stunned Liakhovich, who lost three out of the last four rounds on all three judges’ scorecards entering the 12th, was disappointed with his performance.

“I didn’t fight my fight,” Liakhovich said. “I fought Briggs’ fight. I gave it away. I took too many shots in the 12th round.”

Briggs thanked his promoter for saving him from obscurity and acknowledged his opponent’s powerful punches.

“Don King rescued me,” Briggs said. “Nobody gave me a chance. Everybody gave up on me.

“Liakhovich hurt me a couple of times with some body shots, but I thought I had him out in the first round.”

After the telecast, SHOWTIME announcer Al Bernstein talked about Briggs’ lethal punches and the impact of Liakhovich’s failure to retain his crown.

“Briggs might be the most powerful fighter in the heavyweight division,” Bernstein said. “If he can find a way to punch more often, he may be a breath of fresh air.

“Liakhovich joins a number of heavyweights that won the title and faded quickly. He may come back, but, right now, this is a monstrous failure for him.”

In the co-feature, Juan Diaz successfully defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight title for the fifth time and kept his undefeated record intact with a 12-round unanimous decision over WBA No. 11 contender Fernando Angulo. The judges scored the contest 118-109 twice and 116-111.

Despite the outcome, the champion was not thrilled.

“My performance was okay,” Diaz said. “I tried to fight, but Angulo was holding me a lot. He was a tough fighter, though. I was just glad to get in there and get a victory.”

Even though he started slowly, Diaz connected consistently with crunching body shots and left jabs. The WBA champion won 10 out of 12 rounds on two of the scorecards and eight of 12 on the other. Additionally, Angulo had a point taken away in the sixth round for holding.

Article posted on 05.11.2006

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