Eddie Hearn caused speculation with a tweet about Shannon Briggs replacing Joseph Parker vs Dereck Chisora, but it will not happen
It started, as it so often does in 2019, with a tweet. After Joseph Parker withdrew from his October 26 heavyweight clash with Dereck Chisora this week – reportedly due to the effects of a spider bit – the hunt began for a new opponent for “War” in London. Show promoter Hearn posted a tweet in the early hours of yesterday UK time (Eddie is in the US for Gennady Golovkin vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko) with an image of Shannon Briggs accompanied by a thinking emoji, thought bubble and a laughing hysterically emoji. Yes, this is boxing in the 21st century. While Hearn can claim he was trolling, he does have form for putting out ostensibly tongue-in-cheek feelers in this way to gauge public interest and/or opprobrium. It seems highly unlikely however, even if Hearn is serious, that Briggs, who was briefly WBO champion about a million years ago, would obtain a license to fight in the UK.
Briggs announced his intention to apply for a UK boxing license back in March but nothing seemed to come of it. Off the record, sources at the British Boxing Board of Control had told me even before that that any application from “The Cannon” was largely pointless. They told me this morning that he does not possess a British license currently. Not only is Briggs 47 years old, but he has fought infrequently in recent years against mediocre opposition and has served a ban for taking performance-enhancing drugs relatively recently (2017).
Yes, Chisora has won just six of his last 10, but has been competing at a good level and is coming off a decent and destructive victory over Artur Szpilka, in July. Given the more relevant names floating around as Parker’s replacement – the likes of Michael Hunter, David Price and Alexander Povetkin – the majority of fans would likely be rather disappointed when asthmatic maverick Briggs is wheeled in. Even Adam Smith, Head of Boxing for Sky Sports who broadcast the show, officially topped by Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor, on their Box Office platform, has stated, on our YouTube channel, the new chief support must be a “terrific fight”.
Briggs can sell a fight and may recover a few of the ppv sales lost by Parker’s withdrawal, but he has not fought in over three years (his last fight, funnily enough, was at the O2) and has completed just one round of boxing in the last five, a testament both to his enduring power and the hapless nature of the victims he has vanquished. With his age, inactivity and drug ban, I would be frankly amazed if Briggs was granted a license to box here. Nor should he be.
Anyway, to more pressing matters, just who is training Chisora these days?