World Boxing Association (WBA) cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 10 KOs) stopped No. 11-rated Junior “Hurricane” Wright (15-2-1, 12 KOs) in the 10th round of their May 21st title fight to remain mandatory challenger for unified WBA Super/International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiserweight world champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs).
The WBA mandated a Lebedev-Shumenov fight within 120 days of May 21.
Shumenov, 32, is a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian who lives and trains in Las Vegas. During his 9-year professional boxing career, Shumenov has defeated four world champions – Gabriel Campillo, Byron Mitchell, William Joppy and Montell Griffin – as well as seven world title challengers. He is 8-2 (4 KOs) in world title fights.
Below is a recent Q and A with Shumenov:
Evaluate your performance against Junior Wright in your last fight?
BS: “I am 100-percent a completely different fighter than in my previous fight against B.J. Flores. But, at the beginning of this fight, I had a little bit of ring rust. The inactivity is really hard for me. I would like to be busier and fight more often. I already started training and doing light exercises, right after my fight on May 21st. In my next fight, I will be even more different fighter against Lebedev.”
How does it feel to be the only fighter from your country to be 2-division world champion?
BS: “I don’t really think about those things. My main goal is to unify all of the titles and fight all the best fighters.”
You’ve always wanted to unify as a way of determining who the best or real champ is. In 20-11, you almost fought a unification as WBA light heavyweight but then-WBO champion Juergen Braehmer who suddenly went home a few days before the scheduled unification fight. How does it feel to know that you will be fighting Lebedev for WBA super and IBF cruiserweight titles within 120 days from May 21?
BS: “This has always been my goal – to unify – and I’m motivated even more knowing that I am going to fight for those two titles very soon.”
Do you think a deal will be made between your manager, Al Haymon and Lebedev’s promoter, Andrei Ryabinsky, or will it go to purse bid?
BS: “It doesn’t concern me, whether it goes to a purse bid, or where the location is. However, I hope the parties can get the best deal worked out for everyone involved.”
If Lebedev doesn’t want to fight you and he relinquishes his WBA super title belt, where do you go from there, fight second-mandatory challenger Yunier Dorticos?
BS: “I have heard rumors that Lebedev doesn’t want to fight me and, if this is true and he relinquishes his WBA Super belt, then I want to fight Dorticos because every organization should only have one champion in each division. I hope this isn’t the case, as I have been waiting to fight Lebedev since I won the WBA interim title (mandatory) back in July of 2015. The WBA has ordered us to fight within 120 days of May 21st. I am ready, willing and able to fight him and I hope he is ready, too.”