Shannon Briggs suspended six months for failing PED test

The WBA has suspended former two-time heavyweight world titleholder Shannon Briggs for six months for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs, the sanctioning body announced.

Briggs was due to face Fres Oquendo for the organization's vacant secondary world title on June 3 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

The fight was canceled on two weeks' notice when the results of the test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association -- which was overseeing drug testing for the bout as part of the WBA's Fair Boxing Program -- came back positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

The "atypical" finding in Briggs' A sample found that his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was 7.89 to 1, which far exceeded the allowable threshold of 4 to 1 under World Anti-Doping Agency standards.

The WBA said in its ruling, issued on Wednesday, that boxers are obligated to know the rules and that "no boxer who has tested positive for a prohibited substance can be rated, retain a title, or be permitted to participate in a sanctioned bout for no less than six (6) months from the date of the positive test."

Briggs' suspension is retroactive to the positive test date, meaning he will be eligible to participate in a WBA-sanctioned bout after Nov. 13.

Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs), 45, is a Brooklyn, New York, native based in South Florida. He is a decade past his last meaningful victory, a 12th-round knockout with one second left in the fight against Sergey Liakhovich to win a world title in 2006.

Since suffering a brutal beating in a shutout decision loss while challenging then-titleholder Vitali Klitschko in 2010, Briggs has won nine fights in a row, eight by knockout, against low-level opposition.

It remains to be seen if the WBA will allow Briggs to fight for its secondary title after his suspension ends. The WBA does owe Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs), 44, a world title fight based on a United States federal court ruling stemming from a lawsuit Oquendo won against the sanctioning organization.