Shannon Briggs floors Liakhovich for WBO crown

AP , PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 19

Shannon Briggs won the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title on Saturday night, stopping Sergei Liakhovich of Belarus with a second left in the 12th round.

Briggs, a 34-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, floored the champion with a pair of heavy right hands with 27 seconds remaining in the bout. After Liakhovich rose, Briggs hit him with three more punches and was trying to land another when Liakhovich tumbled through the ropes without being hit.

Referee Bobby Ferrara called the fight at 2:59, and Liakhovich (23-2, 14 KOs) sat in a ringside chair for several minutes before returning to the ring.

Briggs improved to 48-4-1.

It was the first title defense for Liakhovich.

The late flurry was the only real action in the entire fight.

The Don King promotion was the first heavyweight title fight in Arizona history, and judging by the angry reaction of the sparse Chase Field crowd, it may be the last for a while.

Many began booing as the fighters slowly circled for the first 30 seconds.

Liakhovich's strategy seemed to be to avoid Briggs' powerful punches. Briggs, whose nickname is "The Cannon," had promised to knock Liakhovich out within two rounds but threw few punches.

The boos grew louder as neither man mounted anything resembling an attack in the second and third rounds.

At one point in the fourth round, Liakhovich leaned against the ropes with his hands in front of his face but Briggs refused to punch him.

Briggs fought for the title for the second time. In his other title bout in 1998, he was stopped by Lennox Lewis.