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Beibut Shumenov-Kazakh Destroyer


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One of only a handful world champions from Kazakhstan and their first and so far only light heavyweight champion, Beibut Shumenov was a powerhouse of a fighter, standing 6'2 and with a very muscular and athletic physique and punching power to boot. He was always a good offensive fighter and had a good chin, but he struggled against the defensively strong and clever fighters-losing to two of them, Gabriel Campillo and Bernard Hopkins. Even though he later officially avenged the loss to Campillo, it was a very controversial victory. He still has defeated some former big names, such as William Joppy, Byron Mitchell, Montell Griffin and also then-hot contender Vyacheslav Uzelkov (who holds a stoppage victory over Campillo). Shumenov's current status is unclear, he last appeared in the ring in 2018, winning the cruiserweight WBA title for the second time. He remains one of the most successful Kazakh boxers, after Gennadiy Golovkin.


He was born in Shymkent, third most populous city in Kazakhstan, close to the border with Uzbekistan, 19 August 1983. His full name is Beibut Amirhanovich Shumenov, meaning his father's name is/was Amirhan. His father was a chief accountant and his mother a schoolteacher. He was therefore often cared for by his two aunts. As a baby, he nearly died from consuming milk that was spoiled and was therefore always of sensitive health as a child. The films of Bruce Lee inspired him to take up martial arts and he started training himself in various forms of them. As a young man, he gained a degree in law and worked for a judge as a clerk, at the same time as training boxing. He participated at the 2000 Junior World championships in Budapest at 75 kilos (165 pounds) and there he lost to Chad Dawson by a stoppage in 3 rounds. He won a silver medal at the 2004 "Test Olympics" in Greece, the so-called "Acropolis Cup" and then participated in the real Olympics. After beating Aleksy Kuziemski on points, he lost to Ihsan Yildirim Tarhan, also on points. He eventually moved to The States in order to start a professional career and was signed by Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions. He made his debut in November 2007 and stopped Walter Edwards by a TKO1. After knocking out two more guys, he won the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council and interim PABA titles by knocking out Donnell Wiggins in 2 rounds, at home in Shymkent. In his next fight, he also won the WBO Asia Pacific title by KO1 against Lavell Finger. He vacated the PABA title and defended the two others in his first big test-against the former WBC champion Montell "Ice" Griffin, a much shorter but also much more experienced and technically sound fighter. Shumenov passed the test with flying colors and won all 12 rounds on all scorecards against the tough and awkward Griffin. After beating Epifanio Mendoza by UD10, in May 2009 he faced Byron Mitchell, a former WBA super middle champion, once again in Shymkent. The vacant IBA title was also on the line and Shumenov put Mitchell down in round 4 before stopping him by TKO in the same round.


He was now 8-0 and ready to challenge for a world title. He faced off against the very slick and tricky Gabriel Campillo of Spain for his WBA title, 15 August '09 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Shumenov was the better man in the first half but Campillo picked up the pace and resumed control in the second round. Campillo was down in round 9 from a glancing left hook and Shumenov was declared down from a left to the body in round 12. In the end, the disappointing result was heard: Campillo was the victor, by a close majority decision. A rematch was soon mandated however and it took place 29 January next year, this time at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Vegas. This time, it seemed like Campillo was more dominant, yet two of the judges in the end scored the fight for the challenger and thus, Shumenov was finally the WBA world champion! Campillo appealed the verdict and asked for a rematch, but didn't get his will. For his first defense, Shumenov chose the 22-0 Vyacheslav Uzelkov, a power hitter who was ranked at nr.6 by The Ring. The fight happened 23 July at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Leemoore, California. Shumenov was down in the first round but came back to drop the Ukrainian in the third and cruised to a wide unanimous victory. In his second defense on 8 January next year, he faced another former world champ-William Joppy, who was now 39 and no longer at his best. Shumenov was originally going to fight Juergen Braehmer, but he had to pull out. Joppy was no match for the much taller and much younger Kazakh and he dominated him for 5 rounds before knocking him out in the 6th. He then made his third defense by stopping Danny Santiago by TKO9 after hitting him with many power shots against the ropes. He would make two more defenses, first a shutout UD against Enrique Ornelas (brother of Librado Andrade) and a TKO3 against 23-0 Tamas Kovacs, a Slovakian fringe contender. He then signed for his biggest fight, after leaving Goossen Tutor and signing with Al Haymon-his fifth defense against Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins was already 49 when they fought, on 19 April 2014, in DC Armory, Washington DC. Despite his age, Hopkins was the betting favorite and he justified that. The first two rounds were slow and Shumenov had a slight edge. Hopkins then took control and started to land his right hand more and more. Shumenov seemed to give Hopkins too much respect and only threw single shots. Shumenov was hurt by a series of jabs in round 7 and then in round 11 he was dropped with a big overhand right, after first being hurt with a counter right. He got up and finished the fight, but looked clearly the loser. Despite that, one judge controversially gave him the fight by 114-113, but the other two scored it 116-111 for Hopkins.


Seeing that he was no longer suited to be a light heavy and having problems making the weight (which might have contributed to his poor performance), he went up to cruiserweight. On 25 July 2015, he beat BJ Flores by UD to win the interim WBA title and then fought for the full version of it against Junior Anthony Wright, former Golden Gloves champion, 21 May 2016. Shumenov was down once in the fifth but came back to score two knockdowns in round 8 and in the end stopped Wright in round 10, after Wright's trainer threw in the towel. In June 2017 however, Shumenov shocked the boxing world by announcing his retirement, due to an eye injury he got in sparring. He again surprised by returning the next year and winning back his title, which was still vacant. Fight was 7 July in Astana and he stopped the German-Turkish Hizni Altunkaya by corner retirement in 9, after knocking him down in round 1. That was his so far last fight. Curiously, he is still listed as "champion in recess", despite not having a fight for 3 years and Boxrec lists him as inactive. Whatever the truth, his best days are behind him and aged 38, he most likely is done-as a serious fighter anyway. His record is 18 wins, 12 by ko, and 2 losses. Beibut Shumenov was a rather formidable offensive fighter and a warrior, but his performances could vary. He still always came in great shape and gave it all he had and was liked by the crowds because of his aggressive style. He is one of the most successful Kazakh and Central Asian boxers ever. Thank you.




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