ESPN 2 Showcases History-Making WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Shumenov
When capturing the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship in just his 10th professional bout back in January, Beibut Shumenov (9-1, 6 KOs) entered the boxing record books for winning a major world title in the light heavyweight division with the fewest number of fights in his professional career, beating Jeff Harding’s record established in 1988 after winning the championship in his 15th professional bout.
On July 23rd, the Chimkent, Kazakhstan-born, Las Vegas, NV-based warrior, who recently signed with Goossen Tutor Promotions, will get his next chance at making history when he defends his WBA and IBA titles in only his 11th professional bout against mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov (22-0, 14 KOs) of Vinitza, Ukraine, in the scheduled 12-round main event of the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” (10pm ET/7pm PT).
Presented by Goossen Tutor in association with KZ Event Productions, the Shumenov-Uzelkov headlined boxing card will emanate from a specially constructed outdoor arena at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, CA.
The Kevin Barry-trained, self- managed Shumenov, 26, avenged his only loss as a pro – by majority decision — in winning the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship from Gabriel Campillo in another 12-round hotly-contested bout — in just his 10th fight.
On May 8th in Carson, CA, Shumenov was introduced at a press conference announcing the signing with Goossen Tutor, which will allow him to be more focused for his own boxing career, starting with the defense against Uzelkov. As co-owner — with brother Chingis — of KZ Event Productions, Beibut Shumenov will continue to be heavily involved in signing and guiding the careers of boxers under the KZ umbrella.
The mental toll on a fighter who is actually fighting and promoting simultaneously can be, and usually is, horrific. Now with the burden of the day-in, day-out promotional responsibilities now resting on Goossen Tutor’s shoulders, Shumenov, for the first time in his career will truly be able to concentrate on the formable task immediately in front of him; WBA mandatory challenger Uzelkov.
“I’ve been able to concentrate 100-percent on training for the first time in my career with the alignment with Goossen Tutor,” Shumenov said. “I’ve been training hard with Kevin just focusing on improving all aspects of my arsenal, and everyone will see that against Uzelkov. He is a good fighter who deserves his championship opportunity and I know it’s going to be a great fight. I can’t wait for July 23rd. It’s going to be a night of firsts for me – first WBA title defense; first time fighting on ESPN; and first fight without having to worry about promoting.”
The undefeated, heavy-handed Uzelkov, 31, has been taken the distance just once in his last 10 bouts. In his most recent outing back in October, he stopped the Czech Republic’s Tomas Adamek in the fifth round to win the WBA Inter-Continental Championship in Kiev, Ukraine. Uzelkov owns a knockout win over Gabriel Campillo – the only common opponent he has with Shumenov. Uzelkov is promoted by brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who head up K2 Promotions Ukraine.
“It is necessary to knock him (Shumenov) out so there are no questions, and as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I plan to do,” Uzelkov said. Shumenov had the title for a little while and now it will transfer over to me.”
Promoter Dan Goossen said he couldn’t have picked a tougher fight for his new champion then Uzelkov. “These are the type of challenges that definitely take you to the next level with a victory. It won’t be easy on July 23, but we believe Beibut is destined to do special things in boxing.”
A victory for Shumenov puts him into position to unify the light heavyweight belts against the other champions: Tavoris Cloud (IBF), Jean Pascal (WBC) and Juergen Braehmer (WBO). But the one real challenge Shumenov would like is against undefeated Chad Dawson.
First things first though as Shumenov can only think about taking care of the very dangerous and hungry challenger on July 23.
In addition to the main event bout, Rico Ramos (16-0, 9 KOs), the #3 WBO world rated Super Bantamweight will defend his WBO/NABO championship against Mexico’s hard-punching Cuauhtemoc Vargas (15-3-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round fight. With a win, Ramos will be one step closer to his goal of fighting for the world championship.
Tickets for this exciting event are priced at: $20, $50, $60 and $250 and can be purchased by calling the Tachi Palace box office at: 559-924-7751 or by visiting www.tickets.com.