Would Shannon Briggs, 46, be the right opponent for Tyson Fury?
If claims are to be believed, Tyson Fury plans to share a ring with Shannon Briggs this April in what could end up being a farcical match-up for the lineal heavyweight champion.
Briggs being 46 is bad enough when it comes to aiming for decent opposition for a comeback, although the American is also coming off a suspension after testing positive for elevated testosterone.
Fury, who himself recently accepting a backdating two-year ban, would probably be best-served avoiding someone else who’d also been sanctioned, but word is the fight is high up on the shortlist.
‘The Cannon’ has stated the clash will happen this spring as Fury bids to put a first fight on the board since taking Wladimir Klitschko’s title belts in November 2015.
Common ground can be found in the Klitschko name as it also happens to be the last time Briggs fought in a meaningful contest when battered over twelve rounds against Wladimir’s brother Vitali in 2010.
Since then, Briggs has clinched the record for most first round knockouts in history, but at the cost of not facing anyone remotely high up in the rankings.
Sandwiched inbetween a string of early KO’s is a decision triumph over Brazilian also-ran Rafael Zumbano Love, a fighter who was dealt with by Anthony Joshua in 3:21 seconds and by Alexander Ustinov in just over two minutes.
It doesn’t bode well for Fury’s ambitions of battling Joshua for the unified world titles in the near future and seems to be a clear case of ‘2 Fast’ easing himself back in gradually.
Ambitions of Joshua happening in 2018 would seemingly be off the menu as Fury gets a feel for the ring, which may well be better happening against a fighter closer to home and maybe with a cleaner reputation.
Agit Kabayel or Johann Duhaupas, both rated in the Top 15 and based in Europe, would do that job nicely for Fury, although the 29 year-old isn’t one for taking the most politically correct option as displayed throughout his career.
Hopefully a change of heart happens somewhere between now and an official announcement of Fury’s comeback opponent as claims by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn that they could meet as early as next summer look ambitious to say the least judging who could be in the opposite corner.
If Joshua really is a short-term target, Fury needs someone with the hunger of gaining a world title shot themselves – before moving on to a final eliminator-calibre competitor by June or July.
Should Joshua be on the cards for the summer of 2019 as more realistic, Fury could dismantle Briggs and gain a feel for fighting again before upping his opponents gradually over the next twelve months.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay