Boxing’s most driven world champion is WBA and IBA light heavyweight king, Beibut Shumenov, who takes the next step on his mercurial rise in the sweet science Friday night (July 29) headlining “Fire & Fury” against two-time world title challenger Danny “The Bronx Bomber” Santiago on TeleFutura’s telecast live from South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“What really drives Beibut is to be better in every single fight,” commented Shumenov’s head trainer, 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist Kevin Barry. “He sets very high standards and goals. You can’t tell Beibut he can’t do something; he’ll do it, just to make a point, and what he has already accomplished in boxing is unprecedented.
“Beibut has the fan-friendly style to become a major star in boxing. Beibut is a tremendous athlete who would have been a star in any professional sport he chose. In my 25 years in boxing, I have never seen anybody as driven as Beibut.”
Shumenov (11-1, 7 KOs) who lives and fights out of Las Vegas, first represented his native Kazakhstan in the 2004 Olympic Games. Then, he set a light heavyweight record for capturing a world title in the fewest career fights, 10, when (Jan. 10, 2010) he won a 12-round decision against Gabriel Campillo in Las Vegas. Now, he is driven to unify the world 175-pound division championships and eventually become the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world.
In a pair of world title defenses, Shumenov won a unanimous 12-round decision versus No. 1 mandatory challenger and previously undefeated Viacheslav Uzelkov (UDEC12), followed by a six-round knockout of three-time world champion William Joppy (KO6).
In only 11 pro fights, Beibut has defeated four world champions (Campillo, Joppy, Byron Mitchell and Montell Griffin), as well as two world title challengers (Uzelkov and Epifanio Mendoza). “My brother chose a path in boxing unlike most fighters,” Chingis Shumenov explained. “He always challenged himself, instead of fighting easy opponents just to build-up his record. Beibut wanted to fight world champions, practically right from the very start of his pro career. His overall development is due to him learning from each fight because he’s fought so many experienced, quality opponents. He has greatly improved in a relatively short time and his ultimate goal is unifying all of the world titles at 175 pounds.”
Despite being on a journey to unify the light heavyweight titles, Shumenov remains fully focused on the task at hand, which is to successfully defend his WBA/IBA titles July 29 against WBA #15 ranked Santiago (31-4-1, 19 KOs), who was featured on the third season of The Contender reality television series.
An exciting co-feature pits popular Las Vegas super featherweight “Lightning” Lonnie Smith (13-2-2, 9 KOs) versus Robert “The King” Vargas (5-1-1, 0 KOs).
Coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Oxnard’s “Dangerous” David Rodella in April, Smith looks to advance his career toward a title.
“The ultimate goal is to be champion,” says Smith. “And I train like one, so that is the next step.”
After appearing on several of their shows, Let’s Get It On Promotions inked a long- term promotional agreement earlier this year with Smith.
“The win over Rodella on television was huge,” said Tommy Lane, co-promoter of Let’s Get It On Promotions. “It gave fight fans the opportunity to see what we’ve seen all along. The response we received after that fight about Lonnie was incredible.”
Smith vs. Vargas is scheduled for six rounds and will be televised on Telefutura.
Two other champion KZ Event Productions fighters, unbeatens WBA FEDALATIN Welterweight Champion Ravshan Hudaynazarov and WBA International Light Heavyweight titlist Gayrat Ahmedov, will also be in action.
WBA # 9 rated Hudaynazarov (14-0, 12 KOs) defends his title against former USNBC titlist Hector “The Hurricane” Munoz (19-5-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-round belt, while WBA #2 Ahmedov (16-0-1, 12 KOs) takes on veteran Billy Bailey (11-11, 4 KOs) in an eight-round match.
Las Vegas fan favorite Ramon Montano(17-9-2, 2 KOs) faces welterweight Juan Suazo (7-4-3, 5 KOs) in a six-round match. Also on the card against an opponent to be determined is Freddie Roach-trained, unbeaten super featherweight prospect Joel Diaz(4-0, 3 KOs), as well as undefeated Russian cruiserweight Medzhid Bektemirov (5-0, 5 KOs) versus Chad Davis (3-8), in a four-round bouts. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
“Fire & Fury” is promoted by KZ Event Productions (Shumenov and his brother, Chingis, own and operate the Las Vegas-based KZ Event Productions) in association with Golden Boy Promotions, Don Chargin Productions, Guilty Boxing and South Point Hotel Casino. Doors open at 5:30 PM PT, the first bout at 6:00 PM PT and the TeleFutura broadcast begins at 11:30 PM ET / PT (10:30 PM CT).
Tickets, starting at $25, are available for purchase at South Point’s box office, online at www.SouthPointEventCenter.com/tickets.php, or by calling 1.702.797.8055.