Klitschko aims to face Briggs after Jennings bout

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Ukrainian heavyweight boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko cheers with a Ukrainian flag after knocking down Bulgarian challenger Kubrat Pulev on November 15, 2014 in Hamburg (AFP Photo/John MacDougall)
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Berlin (AFP) - World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has said he wants to finally meet perennial taunter Shannon Briggs of the United States in the ring after facing Bryant Jennings in April.

His management team has confirmed WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Klitschko will face undefeated American heavyweight Jennings at New York's Madison Square Gardens on April 25.

It will be the fourth time Klitschko has fought at the New York venue and he is relishing the fight.

"I do have great respect for Bryant Jennings and his achievements. I know this will be a tough challenge," said Klitschko in a statement.

"I am extremely happy to fight in New York again. It will definitely be a great fight night and I will do everything for it from my side.”

But Klitschko, 38, insists he is also keen to meet former WBO heavyweight champion Briggs later in 2015 to end the 43-year-old's constant goading of the Ukrainain world champion to give him a fight.

"Shannon Briggs has stepped over the line in terms of good taste. I want to punish him for his cheekiness and really want to fight him," Hamburg-based Klitschko told German magazine Sport Bild.

"I understand Briggs. There is a logic to what he does.

"He wants to promote himself, just like Tyson Fury, David Haye, Manuel Charr and Marco Huck have done, the boys want to draw you into a conversation.

"But no one has done it so well as Shannon Briggs.

"However, he has overstepped the line, he doesn't know when to stop and it's not funny any more."

Briggs stalked Klitschko in the build-up to his knock-out of Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev last November by attempting to gate-crash a media sparing session bare-chested and yelling his demand to fight the champion.

In the past, Briggs has taunted Klitschko while the champion was eating in a Miami restaurant and even used a speedboat to bother Klitschko while the Ukrainian was paddle-surfing.

Klitschko was last defeated more than a decade ago and only the fine details of the Jennings bout are still to be finalised, the champion's management told SID, an AFP subsidiary on Monday.

Another future possible opponent for Klitschko, who has 63 wins, 53 knock-outs and three defeats on his resume, is newly-crowned WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

The 29-year-old became the first American boxer to claim a world heavyweight belt since 2006 after his unanimous points win over Canada's Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Klitschko has said he wants to win the WBC belt, which his brother Vitali recently held before moving into politics, to become the first boxer in history to hold all four major titles of IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC belts.