"I'm Very Confident of beating Antonio Tarver"
Light Heavyweight Contender Paul Briggs Drops by the Doghouse

By Aaron Imholte (July 22, 2004) 
Paul Briggs
On August 15, the World Boxing Council's number one light heavyweight contender Paul Briggs will square off with lanky southpaw Stipe Drews in an eliminator bout for the WBC's light-heavyweight crown at the State Sports Centre in Homebush, Sydney, Australia on a d-Rush promoted card.

Paul took time out of his busy schedule to talk to about his fight with Drews, his admiration of Roy Jones Jr., and why he believes he is the future of the light heavyweight division.

Aaron Imholte: Paul, how is training going for the upcoming fight?

PB: Awesome best camp I've had, I'm in the best shape of my life. The sparring has been great I've been in the ring with great amateurs and guys like Derrick Harmon.

AI: Who inspired you to become a boxer?

: I was a kickboxing world champion, I had retired at 22 but then I saw a friend of mine at a party. He was also a fighter and he asked if I was ever going to kickbox again and I told him I really didn't think so but then we started watching fights of his and he suggested that I become a boxer because I was always good at it and so I became a boxer.

AI: Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Why?

Wow, I can't really pick one there are so many. Roy Jones Jr. is one. He is dominant and consistent, alot of guys are great champions but as they make money they get complacent. Roy didn't do that, he has stayed consistent.

AI: Now obviously you must have been watching the recent Roy Jones- Antonio Tarver fight close, were you pulling for either fighter or were you more focused on what you still need to do to get to their level in terms of recognition and getting your shot?

PB: A little bit of both. Roy wanted to fight me but I didn't have a big profile and I might have been seen as dangerous because I was unknown. That's the most dangerous kind of guy to fight is the one with no real profile. I've also been close to making a fight with Tarver many times as well. I just want to fight the best.

AI: Who do you want to fight more than all in the light heavy division?

PB: Antonio Tarver after this fight because I'm going to be the mandatory challenger, then Roy Jones. I'm very glad Roy is not retiring and he is hanging around to fight. December 5 is when we want the Tarver fight to happen. After that I would love to fight Roy for my title, I'm very confident in my chances of beating Antonio Tarver.

AI: Drews is 6'5" and a southpaw. Do you think these to attributes will cause you any problems?

PB: I have a good handle on Drews' style. It is a big psychological shock to stand in front of a good fighter like me and I'll hit him harder than anyone ever has. Plus I'm the second fastest guy in the division. Putting that together with my will to win and my aggressiveness and that makes me very confident going into this fight. He's never fought anyone of my caliber but this will be my fourth straight top 10 contender.

AI: What southpaws have you been sparring and how have you been handling them?

PB: Most of them have been southpaws like Derrick Harmon. I have had no problem at all. I can switch hit, I'm ambidextrous so I can fight southpaw and orthodox just as effective. There's no real thinking when I fight a southpaw. Some guys just think too much. I like fighting southpaws because it gives you some more options on how to fight them.

AI: Are there plans in the pipeline for you to fight in the Untied States after the Drews fight?

PB: Definitely. HBO will be the host of the Tarver fight and that will be in the States.

AI: If all goes well in these next two or three fights do you foresee a move up in weight? The weak heavyweight division must be enticing for you.

Not really. The money doesn't mean that much. I'm a warrior I just love fighting. I'm not going to pretend to be a heavyweight. I knocked out cruisers in Australia but that doesn't make me a cruiser or a heavyweight. They're just big fellas. I'm sure I could compete with heavyweights but that doesn't make me a heavyweight.

AI: How about a prediction for the Drews fight?

PB: I will knock him out, it wont go the distance.

AI: How about a round?

PB: [laughs] No, I can't do that. He could be a slippery fighter, it's just a matter of when I end it because this fight will not go the distance.

AI: Any message you have for your fans reading this?

PB: I just want to show everyone back home how much I've improved plus show all the fans in the States how good I am and to let them know I am the future of this division.

AI: Thanks alot Paul. It's been a great interview and good luck in the future.

PB: No worries.

I'd like to thank Jeffrey Shucrofft for setting up this interview.
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