Beibut Shumenov continues to pursue respect
Beibut Shumenov doesn’t need to box. Unlike the vast majority of prizefighters who use the sweet science as a way to climb their way out of impoverished confines, the Kazakhstani boxer lives comfortably.
Shumenov’s family owns markets and construction businesses in the city of Shymkent in southern Kazakhstan and he has made a good living as an attorney. His 9,654-square-foot home in Las Vegas, which includes an elevator and a hyperbaric chamber, is evidence of that.
But don’t tell him that boxing is a hobby. It’s his dream to become one of the best fighters in the world and the fact he lives lavishly doesn’t quell the hunger.
“My dream is for people to recognize me as a great fighter,” the former light heavyweight titleholder told RingTV.com when asked for the reason he fights. “I want to fight with the best fighters in the division. After BJ Flores, I want to continue to test myself and see how I do against the top fighters.”
What Shumenov has done to this point in his career has been impressive.
He turned pro in 2007 after a solid amateur career, which included a spot on his nation’s team in the 2004 Olympics. As a pro, he quickly climbed the ladder in the light heavyweight division and earned a world title in only his 10th professional fight, outpointing Gabriel Campillo to win the WBA belt.
By the time he lost a split decision and his title to Bernard Hopkins in April of last year, one could say that he already accomplished in a few short years what most fighters work their entire careers for.
But what would you say if you were told that he accomplished all of this by training himself? Shumenov, who has now employed Ismael Salas as his coach, said that training himself wasn’t part of any grand plan; it just sort of happened that way.
“It wasn’t ever that I wanted to train myself but I seriously couldn’t find the right person for the job,” he said with a laugh.
Shumenov realized he needed to find a trainer quickly after the way the wily Hopkins dominated him. Now, with the former trainer of the Cuban national amateur team in his corner, the 31-year-old will enter the ring with tools he didn’t have earlier in his career.
“I feel like a brand new person,” Shumenov said. “The people who surround me say that I’m a lot better now. I’ve had my own style for years so I’ve wondered if it would work or not. I was hesitant at the beginning but I decided that I would trust him and see what would happen. I am very happy that I made the right choice.”
Shumenov refused to bite, perhaps out of pride, when asked whether the result might’ve been different against Hopkins had Salas been in his corner then.
“I never thought about how the Hopkins fight would have went because it’s the past and the past is irreversible,” he said dismissively. “But my problem has always been fighting in the light heavyweight division. I was simply too big for it. I’m so happy at cruiserweight because I don’t have to struggle anymore. I can focus on my skills and maintain my power to become a better fighter.”
That will be tested against Flores, a tough, skillful veteran who is still chasing his first world title. It’s the kind of challenge Shumenov craves.
“I don’t want to waste my time,” he said. “I want to compete against the best fighters, win the world titles and unify them. I don’t care how long it takes.”