In a virtual repeat of his WBO title winning effort against Serguei Lyakhovich last November, Shannon Briggs barely showed a pulse in the ring but this time there was no last second hail mary punch to pull out the fight as Sultan Ibragimov won a unanimous decision to annex the WBO belt Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
The massive 6 foot 4, 273 lb Briggs was unable to capitalize on his sizable advantages in power and reach against the 32 year old southpaw Ibragimov, who was outweighted by 52 pounds by the 35 year old champion.
Briggs started off the bout with good energy but when he couldn't land his roundhouse right on the shorter Ibragimov, the New Yorker simply waited for opportunities that almost never came.
Ibragimov circled the champion in the center of the ring and occasionally threw a southpaw left hand behind a pawing right hand that did nothing more than irritate Briggs, but it was activity and it won the Russian rounds.
By the midway point Ibragimov, finally confident that he could avoid anything Briggs did manage to throw, started to up his own activity and began to pick the champion apart with brief combinations.
But the higher activity from Ibragimov opened the challenger up and Briggs managed to finally land leather on his opponent, shaking Ibragimov but was unable to mount any kind of sustained effort that would get the job done.
Briggs was worn out by the effort and was himself rocked badly in the ninth frame but Ibragimov was too wary of the champion's power to go in for the kill and spent the remaining rounds pecking away at the inactive Briggs.
By the time the fight mercifully came to a close, Ibragimov, 21-0-1 (17), was awarded a unanimous decision 119-109, 117-111 and 115-113 to become the WBO Heavyweight Champion.
Briggs, 48-5-1 (42), cited asthma for his low key performance.