By Keith Idec
Shannon Briggs admitted during a radio interview Thursday that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
Before Thursday’s admission as part of 77 WABC Radio’s “The Rita Cosby Show,” Briggs hadn’t addressed the WBA’s sixth-month PED suspension that cost him a heavyweight title fight against Fres Oquendo. The 45-year-old Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs, 1 NC) and Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) were supposed to fight for a version of the WBA’s heavyweight title June 3 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Their heavily criticized title fight was canceled after a test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association revealed Briggs had dramatically elevated levels of testosterone in his system (https://www.boxingscene.com/wba-suspends-shannon-briggs-six-months-failed-ped-test--118693).
“I will admit to that,” Briggs told Cosby. “Yes, I did. I take full responsibility for what I did and I’m looking forward to addressing it not only in this conversation, but anytime it’s asked. I did take a performance-enhancement thing.
“And again, I apologize for those who feel that I hurt them. And I do – I do feel it because a lot of my fans, my friends and followers were looking forward to me fighting and becoming heavyweight champion for the third time, the first champion to do it in three different decades. So again, I feel sorrow for that. And again, I’m trying to make it better by staying focused, coming back and letting people know that I was down, but I’m not out.”
Briggs wouldn’t identify the PED he took.
“Particularly, my strength coach, uh again, that would be something he would kinda know more about,” Briggs said. “It came out in the test. But I’m just a guy who, again, I take responsibility. I took it and, hey, what can I say, Rita? We’ve all had our ups and downs. This is a down, but I’m looking to turn it around and become heavyweight champion again for the third time.”
Though Briggs repeatedly stated that he accepts full responsibility for taking a banned PED, he also said that one of his trainers suggested it to help him combat asthma.
“A trainer brought it into my life, and [I was] taking advice from trainers,” Briggs said. “And I’m no dummy. Again, like I said, the responsibility is all mine. I’m an asthmatic. I was born an asthmatic and again, I’m taking things to possibly enhance my breathing, which is wrong.
“But again, I feel I’m at a deficit as a fighter, but there’s no excuse. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I’m back, I’m feeling great, I’m looking forward to becoming heavyweight champion and proving to the world that although I’m asthmatic, with or without something to help me, I’m the best ever.”
Cosby also asked Briggs who gave him the PEDs, but the Brooklyn native declined to answer that question, too.
“I’m not gonna put his name out there to the public,” Briggs said. “But he’s a great guy. He’s, you know, just doing what he had to do, and trying to help the champ be better.”
Briggs, who has long been dogged by rumors of PED use, reiterated that dealing with asthma led him to this predicament. The former WBO heavyweight champion estimated that he used PEDs for “about six months, possibly,” before testing positive sometime in the spring.
“Definitely tied to my asthma,” Briggs said. “But at the same time, I took a chance. It was the wrong chance. I made a decision that I shouldn’t have made.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.