Vitali to defend title against former champion Briggs

Former WBO champion handed shot at elder Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko will make the seventh defence of his WBC heavyweight title against American Shannon Briggs, according to reports.

The fight, slated to take place in Hamburg on October 12, has been in the works for some time and Vitali is expected to succeed.

The big-punching Briggs (51-5-1) has been calling out both Klitschko brothers for years, but at the age of 38 he is almost certainly past his best.

"Shannon Briggs is an unbelievable big mouth but also definitely a tough challenger," Klitschko said. "He is one of the toughest punchers in the business.

"I am also delighted to box in Hamburg again. This is where it all started."

'The Cannon' first earned a shot at then WBC champion Lennox Lewis in 1998 when earning a controversial points verdict over George Foreman, but was stopped by the Briton in five brutal rounds.

He briefly held the WBO belt in 2006 but lost it against Sultan Ibragimov the following year, in what was his fifth defeat as a professional.

The New Yorker finally gets his shot at Klitschko because of a paucity of suitable opponents for 'Dr Ironfist', with WBA champion David Haye so far unwilling to agree a deal.

While maintaining a tremendous 90 percent stoppage rate, the Ukrainian has looked somewhat laboured in his most recent fights against Kevin Johnson and Albert Sosnowski, and may yet be vulnerable to a heavy-handed opponent such as Briggs.

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