Unable to secure a unification title fight against the other 175-pound world champions, World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight World Champion Beibut Shumenov returns on June 2 to make his fourth title defense against former super middleweight world title challenger Enrique Ornelas (33-7, 21 KO’s) at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. in a fight that will be televised live on FOX Sports Net and FOX Deportes and will be televised on a delayed basis on FUEL TV.
“I’m looking forward to defending my world title belt, especially on a nationally televised show once again,” Shumenov said from his Las Vegas home.
A unique boxing world champion, at least in terms of his background, Shumenov has growing international appeal. The chiseled 2008 Kazakhstan Olympian is a lawyer and boxing promoter who, along with his brother Chingis Shumenov, owns and operates KZ Event Productions out of Las Vegas.
Two-and-a-half years ago, also at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Shumenov captured the WBA World Title in just his 10th professional bout with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over former World Champion Gabriel Campillo. The win established a new record for a fighter winning a major light heavyweight world championship in the fewest professional fights.
Shumenov was scheduled for a unification fight on Jan. 8, 2011 against World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Champion Juergen Braehmer in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, but Braehner pulled out of the fight just a few days prior to the scheduled event. To avoid cancelling the show in the capital city of his native country, Shumenov fought former World Champion William Joppy, who was slated to face another fighter on the same card.
Since capturing his WBA World title belt, Shumenov has successfully defended against undefeated, mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov (DEC 12), Joppy (KO 6) and most recently Danny Santiago (TKO 9) this past July. The 28-year-old Shumenov has defeated four world champions – Campillo, Byron Mitchell, Joppy and Montell Griffin – as well as former world title challengers Epifanio Mendoza, Uzelkov and Santiago in only 13 professional bouts.
“My goal has always been and remains to fight the best and unify the world light heavyweight title.” Shumenov noted. “To do that I need to keep practicing and improving with each and every fight. Someday, I hope one of the other world champions will put his belt on the line against mine. Until then, though, I am only focused on defending my world title belt against the toughest possible challengers like Ornelas.”
Some present and former world champions have made overtures about fighting Shumenov, but they have demanded that the fight be held in their respective hometowns. To his credit, Shumenov hasn’t made a Kazakhstan showdown a mandatory demand, despite attracting more than 30,000 fans there for a fight against Griffin in 2008.
“All fighters dream of fighting in the boxing capital of the world, Las Vegas,” Shumenov remarked. “I’d love to fight again in Kazakhstan and intend to do that again someday, but Las Vegas is a perfect, neutral site.”
Hall of Fame promoter Don Chargin, who serves as Shumenov’s advisor, has been frustrated by biased media reports about major fights for Shumenov. “I had discussions with representatives for a title fight with (Jean) Pascal and unification with (Nathan) Cleverly,” Chargin explained. “They wanted to fight in Canada and England, but we preferred Las Vegas or Kazakhstan. Beibut’s the world champion and I didn’t believe those options to fight in Canada or England were in his best interest. Discussions never got any further because neither of them were really serious about fighting us. Meanwhile, time had passed. Beibut’s layoff was no fault of his own; he wanted to fight all along and patiently waited. Making either of those fights, though, was out of his control. If things go right June 2, we’ll try again to make a unification fight.”
Shumenov understands that, first, he has to get past a tough, hungry challenger in Guanajuato, Mexico’s Ornelas, who has moved up to the light heavyweight division after an impressive run at 168 pounds, where he owned the NABF title and proved to be a strong challenger for Robert Stieglitz’ WBO title in 2010.
Shumenov vs. Ornelas is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and KZ Event Productions and sponsored by Corona and DeWalt Tools. The FOX Sports Net and FOX Deportes bilingual simulcast will air live at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. FUEL TV will rebroadcast the fight on Sunday, July 1, at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT.
Tickets, priced at $100, $60, $30, $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $125, may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.