Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs) defeated B.J. Flores (31-2-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision Saturday night to win a cruiserweight world title on Premier Boxing Champions on NBCSN from the Pearl at Palms Casino Resort.
Shumenov came out aggressive early before using his movement late to earn a world title in a second division and become the first fighter from Kazakhstan to achieve that feat. Flores was competitive throughout the fight, countering effectively when Shumenov showed aggression while landing more power punches.
In the 12th-round Flores wobbled Shumenov on the ropes in the closing seconds, but was unable to earn a knockdown. Shumenov used a strong jab and quick movements to make Flores miss consistently. All three judges scored the fight 116-112.
In a battle of undefeated rising cruiserweight contenders, Detroit’s Isiah Thomas (15-0, 6 KOs) earned a hard-fought victory over Jordan Shimmell (19-1, 16 KOs) in their 10-round bout.
The southpaw Thomas used his slick style to slow down Shimmell’s offense and land lead rights to the head that left Shimmell’s right eye cut. Thomas was able to fend Shimmell off on the inside as the broader Shimmell attempted to land big punches from close quarters. Thomas won by the scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
In further action, Dominican power-puncher Claudio Marrero (19-1, 14 KOs) delivered a vicious second round knockout over former world champion Rico Ramos (24-5, 12 KOs). Marrero connected with a strong overhand left that immediately sent Ramos to the canvas, prompting referee Jay Nady to wave off the count. The knockout came twenty seconds into the round.
The televised opener featured undefeated cruiserweight Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti (11-0, 10 KOs) scoring a dominant unanimous decision victory over Roberto Santos (12-2, 5 KOs). Tabiti used his length and speed to outwork and outland Santos over the eight-round fight. All three judges scored the fight 80-72.
“B.J. is a strong guy but he was lunging while I was scoring points. I’m still in the learning process and I’m more comfortable as a cruiserweight.
“Boxing is an art. I used my skills, positioning, angles and footwork to win the fight.
“I feel blessed, I have a strong team that is like one. Without them I wouldn’t have won the fight tonight.
“I followed the instructions from my corner and thought I won the fight clearly.
“I had extra motivation to make history. I first did that when I wont the light heavyweight title in 10 fights and now I’m the first person from my country to win world titles in two different division. I’m very proud of that.
“Denis Lebedev is my main target. But I want to fight all the best and most dangerous cruiserweights in the world.”
“Beibut always comes forward, he’s very tough, but tonight he ran the whole night. It’s tough to win a fight when the guy is trying to run in circles.
“My punches were crisp and effective and I hurt him. He had nothing on his punches and never hurt me.
“I wobbled him in the twelfth round and then I went in to rush him. He kept moving back though.
“You have to want to fight. PBC is about guys wanting to fight. That’s what it’s all about.
“I’m ready to get back in the ring, I’m fine. It was difficult to catch up with him because he wanted to move around so much.
“I learned in those last few rounds that even though he was moving around so much, I could pick up the tempo and bring the fight to him.
“You can’t fight a guy who isn’t trying to engage. You have to fight to win the fight. He was throwing jabs while I was trying to hurt him.
“I’m so thankful to all my fans who came out tonight, I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. I will be back. Beibut, I want the rematch.”
“I think I did well in there. I listened to my corner and was able to land punches.
“I used my defense, my eyes and most importantly I listened to my corner. I should have thrown some more punches, but I wanted to stay on the outside and use angles.
“I knew it was going to be a close fight, he came very hard and I had to be at my best. Me and my team were able to get it done.
“I feel great about representing Detroit boxing. I want to carry on the legendary legacy of Kronk Gym and just keep working.
“This win is huge for my career. Being on the national stage was a great experience for me.
“I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. I’m going to get back in the gym and get with my team but I’ll be back soon.”
“I thought it was a closer fight than the judges had it. Nothing he did surprised me, I knew it was going to be a tough fight.
“I just have to be even more prepared. He is a great fighter, I thought it was closer. But he’s a great fighter.
“I’m okay, I’m going to come back.”
“I trained very hard for this fight and I was just listening to the corner and we saw that the overhand was open and I connected on it.
“I’ve improved a lot since my loss and I come into each fight better and better. I’m more confident in my preparation and I have a great fight plan.
“I’m very excited about this victory. We worked so hard for this fight. I hope that boxing will take Dominican fighters a little more seriously. There are currently two Dominican world champions and I want to be the third.
“I want to fight the best of the best. Whoever it is, I’m ready”
“I stayed disciplined tonight. It was a good test tonight and I’m just ready to get back to work.
“I was a little disappointed I couldn’t get the knockout but I felt really good in there. Hats off to my opponent, he was tough and could really take a punch.
“I hurt him in the last round and he was holding me, but he was able to stay on his feet. I’m still going to knock guys out but I wanted to show the world I have the talent to go in there and box.
“I hope that I left everyone entertained and I’m going to keep on working hard and go from there.”