Say what you want about Shannon Briggs but his popularity is undeniable. A real showman, he had the crowd on his side and eating out of the palm of his hand from the moment the ring announcer called out his name last night in London.
The Cannon has said that he has bought a one-way ticket to England as he targets an extended stay on our shores, and he spoke of his appreciation for British fight fans after the fight:
“I love it over here. I love hearing you guys say ‘hello mate, let’s go champ!’ to me in the street.”
His popularity will help him earn matchups, and having held up his end of the bargain, he will face Haye in September after he overcame Arnold Gjergjaj.
His opponent Emilio Zarate from Buenos Aires, was no match physically for Briggs, who started extremely quickly by landing big left hand right combinations after the bell, setting the tone for the fight.
That the fighters were mismatched physically was evident from the outset, mind you.
Zarate offered little by way of threat and Briggs was able to land booming body shots repeatedly throughout the contest.
The Argentine took a knee to the canvas early in the round after taking two lefts to his side. In Zarate’s defence, he took the fight on late notice and it was clear that he was not equal to Briggs.
Briggs saw little need to move around the ring, opting instead to pin his man into corners before unleashing combinations to Zarate’s frame.
That will have been keenly observed by Haye whose speed will make him the clear favourite when the two heavyweights meet later this year.
And it was yet another body shot that would do for the American with Zarate knocked down and remaining there for several minutes before going over to congratulate his opponent.
In his post-match interview Briggs spoke of how he turned his life around in the last few years. He explained that he was overweight, had no friends, and no clear plan, he only had himself.
To his credit he has turned his life around and is now firmly back in the public eye.
The adulation he received from the crowd will have given him great pleasure, and he’ll be keen for more nights like this, if he continues, as he says – until he’s 50 years-old.
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