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Shumenov retains title on FNF

23
Jul

Beibut Shumenov (left) drops Vyacheslav Uzelkov at the end of the third round of their 12-round light heavyweight title bout in Lemoore Calif., on Friday. Shumenov won a unanimous decision. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Light heavyweight beltholder Beibut Shumenov retained his title by outworking and outboxing Viacheslav Uzelkov to a 12-round unanimous decision in the main event of an ESPN2-televised card in Lemoore, Calif., on Friday.

Shumenov (10-1, 6 knockouts), who won by scores of 118-109 (twice) and 117-109, was dropped by a left hook in the first round but the 26-year-old boxer-brawler got up and dominated the rest of the bout with his superior punch output and ring generalship.

Shumenov scored a knockdown with a temple shot at the end of round three and proceeded to control Uzelkov (22-1, 14 KOs) with aggressive stalking, a busy jab, and hard body-head combinations in the middle rounds before utilizing smart lateral movement late in the bout.



Uzelkov did not let his hands go enough. The Ukrainian was content to wait for counter-punch opportunities behind a high guard, which was obviously the wrong strategy to take with Shumenov, a confident and well-conditioned physical specimen whose skill and technique is improving with new trainer Kevin Barry.

Shumenov's victory likely earned the 2008 Olympian from Kazakhstan a measure of respect from hardcore fans that he didn't have coming into his Friday Night Fights showcase. Shumenov won a major title in his 10th pro bout (a record for the 175-pound division) with a controversial split decision over Gabriel Campillo in January. Most observers believed Campillo, who had outpointed Shumenov in their previous fight, deserved to keep the title.

The result of Shumenov's title-winning effort was so suspect that most considered Uzelkov, THE RING's NO. 6-rated light heavyweight, to be the favorite in Friday's contest. Prior to facing Shumenov, Uzelkov has stopped his last 10 opponents, including a sixth-round KO of Campillo in 2007.

Shumenov will likely break into THE RING's light heavyweight rankings and should be considered a player in the 175-pound division.

In the co-featured bout of the Friday Night Fights broadcast, junior featherweight prospect Rico Ramos, of Los Angeles, easily outboxed Mexico City native Cuauhtemoc Vargas (15-4-1, 10 KOs) to a unanimous eight-round decision.

Ramos (17-0, 9 KOs) won by scores of 80-72 (twice) and 79-73.

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