Shumenov: Hard Mind to Hard Rock

By Michael Schmidt on May 28, 2012
Shumenov: Hard Mind to Hard Rock
He grew interested in Bruce Lee and became an accomplished kickboxer and wrestler

Beibut Shumenov won a major world title, the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship, in only his tenth professional fight…

“There are fighters who are men’s men. Rocky Marciano was one of them. Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry and George Chuvalo and Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio to name a few…They have a code—it is to fight until they are licked, and if they have to take a punch for every punch they give, well, they figure they can win. Their ego and their body intelligence are both connected to the same source of juice—it is male pride. They are substances close to rock…Obviously the better and more successful they get, the more they have been able to transmute violence into craft, discipline, even body art. That is human alchemy. We respect them and they deserve to be respected.”—Norman Mailer, “King of the Hill”

April 14th, Ringside, Rios vs. Abril

A tall man, perhaps six-foot-two for he surely meets me eye to eye, glides his perfectly tailored suit, broad shoulders and athletic physique into a seat beside me as Mike Alvarado does as good as can be done in the impose your will department and pounds on Mauricio Herrera round after round. I use the word “glides” deliberately as WBA World Light Heavy Champ Beibut Shumenov has the look of a finely tuned machine. He is loving every moment of the fight. It is right up his alley and an alley you would not want to be in. His broad shoulders bounce off me lightly on occasion as he exclaims “ooh” and “ahhh” as Alvarado grinds away. But there is much, much more to this hard rock Champion and the more is evolving and will be a challenging thing for opponents moving forward and for those who deign to move forward literally in the ring.

“The Sweet Science” it is, as a thinking man’s game, for it otherwise could take place in a pool hall, behind a bar as a “smoker” or in an alley for that matter. After the Rios vs. Abril fight the Champion Shumenov and Cary Redlin, Vice President of the Shumenov led KZ Event Promotions, situate in Las Vegas, and the writer enjoy a nice steak dinner. It is during dinner that I learn that the Champion watches and retains fights/fighters almost in encyclopedic fashion. The lawyer, boxer, promoter is a student par excellence. I mention a fighter that I know from the eighties and the Champion responds, “Oh yes, a slick southpaw, a super middleweight (fellow Kitchener native and friend Syd Vanderpool).” It is clear during dinner that the Champion, whose language skills include Russian, English, Turkish, Kazakh and Uzbek, is intent on improving his level of boxing constantly and daily. It will all be on display, once again, on June 2nd as the Champion makes his fourth defense of the title at the HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO.

As a young man Beibut Shumenov, having accidently been given poison milk, was given only a few days to live. It would take years to recover from the physical depletion that followed. As a teenager he became interested in Bruce Lee. He became and is an accomplished kickboxer and wrestler. After discovering and watching Mike Tyson he began an amateur boxing career in 1996. The rapid athletic rise from there has been astonishing but perhaps not when one considers the Champion’s intellect and incredible training regime. I will not detail the training regime as described by the Champion over a nice steak but will say that opponents better be ready to enter the mental and physical inferno as I doubt ANYBODY APPLIES MORE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL PREPARTION TO THE GLADIATORIAL ARENA THAN THIS CHAMPION SHUMENOV. Yes, many talk the talk but to walk the walk you have to show results.

Beibut Shumenov won a major world title, the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship, in only his tenth fight. The win established a record for a fighter in the division obtaining the title with the fewest pro fights. There have been subtle changes from fight to fight in how Shumenov approaches the in-the-ring conflicts. The first fights were born of pure and raw physicality. Recent bouts have shown more use of the ultimate boxing choreography weapon—the jab. As well, there are more angles being applied, less head-on mayhem, but still to be applied, with raw violence and relish for combat, when the time is right. It is an intelligent man’s sport, this boxing, at least for the very best to succeed, and this particularly bright Champion understands that to continue to be the best and go even further, more tools must be placed in the toolbox, to box at the highest level.

To unify the Light Heavyweight Championship is the level that Champion Shumenov strives toward. The division is taking on an interesting landscape with the likes of Tavoris Cloud, Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson all shortly to be in action as well. There is, as well, the undefeated, Nathan Cleverly and Ismayl Sillakh, and the legend executioner, Bernard Hopkins. Some have called the Champion out but not many have responded. As long as the Champion Shumenov has that WBA bauble, the Championship belt, the contenders will at some point have to attend their own call out and do battle.

We end the dinner discussing these various options and opportunities. The Champion’s eyes, ever so relaxed but focused, processing my comments, smiling and ever the gentlemen. For such a self-contained and thoughtful gent it is almost hard to believe Shumenov is capable of such enjoyed mayhem in the ring. He has his loyal team intact, an in-house promotional company, a Hall of Fame boxing man in advisor Don Chargin, and an ever increasing skill set born of intellect, a challenging background to overcome, and hard rock training. Hard mind, hard rock, this Champion.  A thinking man’s game, this “Sweet Science,” to be able to look in the looking glass and know what needs to be done to be better and not think one is better. The next step unfolds next weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. mike schmidt 10:50am, 06/05/2012

    Nice warm up fight on the weekend—boxed nice and steady and won 12 rounds to 0—SMART—no cuts etc—ready for the next $$$$ fight. Adios for now and thanks Ted.

  2. The Thresher 05:03pm, 05/28/2012

    Sillakh was badly exposed

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat saijo 03:03pm, 05/28/2012

    Mike Schmidt-  Great report….now let’s see….Cleverly…..okaaaaay, but he better bring his A-game to compete here ....in my view Sillakh needs to re-set big time before he faces this very tough cookie.

  4. The Thresher 05:20am, 05/28/2012

    Good one. Very infomative.

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