Beibut Shumenov (R) finishes off previously undefeated challenger Tamas Kovacs
(photo by Tom Casino / Showtime)
The 30-year-old Shumenov set a light heavyweight record for capturing a world title in the fewest career fights, 10, when he won (Jan. 10, 2010) a 12-round decision over Gabriel Campillo in Las Vegas. Shumenov's fifth successful world title defense was an impressive performance over previously undefeated challenger Tomas "Tomi Kid" Kovacs (23-1, 14 KOs) on "Danger Zone," headlined by Marcus Maidana's upset of Adrian Broner, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Shumenov, the 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian who lives in Las Vegas, dropped Kovacs at the end of round one with a picture-perfect left hook to the European champion's chin. The powerful Kazak briefly switched to southpaw in the second round, decking Kovacs with a left uppercut, and referee Rafael Ramos halted the fight at the 2:55mark of the third round after a battered Kovacs was knocked down for the third time in the fight.
Although he hadn't fought in more than a year, Shumenov showed little ring rust, if any at all, as he patiently stalked Kovacs, who Shumenov expected to be aggressive from the opening bell. "From watching some of his past fights," the 30-year-old Shumenov explained, "I expected him to come forward and fight inside. I was prepared to counter him, but he fought defensively and I had to set him up. I feinted a lot more than in my past fights, moved better, and I eventually got him.
"My goal has always been to unify and Golden Boy and Showtime are going to give me that opportunity. We tried to make a couple of unifications and different fights that for one reason or another fell through. We tried to made unification fights with [Nathan] Cleverly and [Chad] Dawson when they held belts, but they weren't interested in fighting me. I tried to unify with a scheduled fight against [then WBO champion Juergen] Braehmer but he ran out of town three days before our fight."
The winner and still world champion, Beibut Shumenov
(photo by Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
"Bernard Hopkins is a legendary fighter and it would be an honor to fight him," Shumenov added. "He said he wants to fight me, I want to fight him. If I had my choice of unifying against any of the other world champions in the 175-pound division, I would pick Bernard Hopkins because he is a six-time world champion who is headed to the Hall of Fame. Hopkins already proved that age isn't an issue and maybe he isn't human. The other two world champions, [WBC, Adonis] Stevensonand [WBO, Sergey] Kovalev, only became world champions this year and they haven't beaten opponents at their peaks like Hopkins has so many times. Stevenson beat Dawson after [Andre] Ward destroyed him and [Tavoris] Cloud wasn't the same after Hopkins fought him. Kovalev won his title from Cleverly, who I had been trying to fight for a few years because he had been built up and had never fought a top guy.