Beibut Shumenov Sprints Toward Title Rematch With Gabriel Campillo

Jan 28. FanHouse

By Lem Satterfield

Beibut Shumenov Sprints Toward Title Rematch With Gabriel CampilloFormer Kazakhstan Olympian Beibut Shumenov has taken the fast track in professional boxing. He is going after his second shot at dethroning southpaw, WBA light heavyweight (175 pounds) champion, Gabriel Campillo, in only his 10th fight on Friday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Shumenov carries a record of 8-1, with six knockouts against the 31-year-old Campillo (19-2, six KOs) of Madrid, Spain, to whom he lost a 12-round majority decision in August’s clash of 6-foot-2 fighters before his partisan fans at the Sport Complex in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Born in Chimkent, Kazakhstan, Shumenov lost to Campillo on Aug. 19 – four days before his 26th birthday.

“I’m not in over my head. I am ready. I’m ready to box at the highest levels,” said Shumenov, whose past four fights have been against three world champions and a world title challenger whose combined records were 122-19-2, coming in.

“I’ve learned a lot from my last fight. But the last fight, I trained myself and I had no real strategy,” said Shumenov. “I couldn’t even judge the distance between my opponent and me.”

Still, Campillo only wn 115-111, 114-113, on two judges’ cards, with the third calling it a draw at 113-113. Campillo was credited with a disputed knockdown in the final round, otherwise the decision might have gone to Shumenov.

“In the last round, Beibut was moving backwards, and probably his legs were too wide,” said Kevin Barry, who is training Shumenov for the first time in the rematch with Campillo. “Campillo threw a straight shot to the body, and as Beibut was pulling away from it, he clicked heels and fell on his bum.”

Most known for having managed heavyweight contender David Tua before their acrimonious split after 12 years in 2003, Barry called Shumenov “A better fighter now than he was when he came to see me two months ago.”

“Looking at the last fight against Campillo, I thought that Beibut did a lot of things wrong. He wasted a lot of punches, he was off balance a lot,” said Barry, who earned the silver medal in Los Angeles’ 1984 Olympics after defeating eventual bronze medalist, Evander Holyfield, in the semifinals of the light heavyweight division.

“Maybe, as a very heavy-handed guy who throws a lot of power punches every round, when you have that sort of style, it’s very important that the punches that you throw actually land,” said Barry.

“So I’m working very hard on his accuracy, not wasting punches,” said Barry. “I’ve worked on Beibut’s defense – his hands were a little low the first time, and I want to get his hands up a lot higher.”

In addition, Barry said that he is improving Shumenov’s footwork and upper-body movement.

“Beibut fights with the European style of standing up straight. So to improve his balance, I’ve been drilling him on getting him to bend his knees to sit down on his punches,” said Barry. “We’ve made a lot of changes, and I feel that we’re on the right track.”

Shumenov agrees.

“This time, with Kevin Barry, we’ve made a lot of changes. We’ve sparred 174 rounds, and I’m a student of the game. I’m not afraid to learn new things. I’m not afraid to change,” said Shumenov, who is self-managed.

“All of these rounds have served a purpose,” said Shumenov. “We’ve worked on technique, and we’ve worked on some changes. This has been a dream of mine, to become a world champion.”

Shumenov won his first six bouts within 10 months – the first five by knockout – with three of those stoppages coming in the first round.

The last of Shumenov’s first-round stoppages was in April of 2008 against Lavell Finger, a southpaw who came in with a mark of 26-2, with 13 KOs. A former National Golden Gloves champion, Finger has not entered the ring since.

Shumenov exited in the 2004 Olympics’ round of 16 in a weight class from which present WBA super middleweight (168 pounds) king, Andre Ward, emerged as the gold medalist.

In his sixth professional bout, in August of 2008, Shumenov dominated former world champion, Montell Griffin. The final scores over 12 rounds were, 120-108, according to two cards, and 120-107 on a third card, meaning the three judges combined awarded Griffin only one round.

In the first round, Shumenov nearly stopped Griffin, who entered the fight with a record of 49-7, and 30 knockouts. After the bout, Griffin was taken to the hospital, where he received stitches for a cut over an eye and had his ribs examined after absorbing Shumenov’s vicious body attack.

Griffin also has not fought since losing to Shumenov, whose victory earned the fringe WBC Asian Boxing Council and WBO Asia Pacific belts.

Two fights later in May of 2009, Shumenov’s fourth-round knockout of former world titlist Byron Mitchell earned two more championships – the PABA Interim and IBA.

Mitchell, who entered the ring against Shumenov with a record of 27-4-1 and 20 KOs, scored October’s second-round stoppage of David Telesco.

“This kid Beibut is a real physical specimen. The thing that impressed me straight away, is that he’s everything in a fighter that you want,” Barry said of Shumenov, whose career began 26 months ago with a November, 2007, first-round knockout of Walter Edwards.

“Beibut is very intelligent, has a tremendous body, great genetics, and he’s very quick and very explosive,” said Barry, who trained Tua when he drew with Hasim Rahman, and scored KOs over Michael Moorer and Fres Oquendo.

“Beibut trains and lives the life of a real, professional athlete,” said Barry. “You don’t have to light a fire under this guy to get him to work out.”

Along with his brother, Chingis, Shumenov runs Las Vegas-based, KZ Event Productions.

“I want to be a promoter too,” said Shumenov. “So that I can help other fighters’ dreams come true.”