Per an appeal lodged by Beibut Shumenov and approved by the WBA, tomorrow’s bout between Shumenov and Junior Wright will now be for the sanctioning body’s vacant World cruiserweight title. The scheduled 12-rounder will take place at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Until the WBA decree, Shumenov had been the interim titlist.
A resident of Vegas by way of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, 32-year-old Shumenov is a nine-year ring vet (16-2, 10 KOs) who won the interim title in his most recent fight, last July, by beating B.J. Flores via unanimous decision. First-ranked by the WBA, Shumenov won the sanctioning body’s World light heavyweight title in January 2010 by beating Gabriel Campillo via split decision. Upgraded to Super World champ in October 2013, the Kazakh lost his crown in April 2014 to Bernard Hopkins, who won by split decision.
His 29-year-old opponent is a five-year pro who fights out of Evanston, Illinois (15-1-1, 12 KOs). Eleventh-ranked by the WBA, “Hurricane” last fought in February, stopping Jim Franklin by first-round TKO. His sole loss came in May of last year, when he fought for the vacant IBO World cruiserweight title, Rakhim Chakhkiev knocking him out in the eighth. He drew against Stivens Bujaj in May 2014, thus failing to gain the vacant WBC International cruiserweight title.
“I’m happy to get the opportunity to fight this Saturday night,” said Shumenov.
The Kazakh is the mandatory challenger of WBA Super World cruiserweight titlist Denis Lebedev, who’s also fighting tomorrow, taking on IBF World cruiserweight champ Victor Emilio Ramirez in a unification bout in Moscow. The winner of Lebedev-Ramirez must face the winner of Shumenov-Wright within 120 days, the WBA has decreed.
Originally scheduled to fight for the vacant WBA World cruiserweight title, Yunier Dorticos and Youri Kalenga instead do battle tonight in Paris for the now-vacant interim title.
Shumenov made a well-grounded appeal, according to an official statement of the WBA, that he should be allowed to face the winner of Lebedev-Ramirez (assuming he emerges victorious over Wright) and that “allowing Dorticos and Kalenga to fight for the regular championship, thereby essentially skipping over Shumenov, is improper and causes significant harm to Shumenov’s reputation.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.