After being self-trained for his last three fights, former World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight World champion Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) is now working in Las Vegas with highly-regarded Cuban head trainer Ismael Salas.
Salas, who has trained world champions such as Guillermo Rigondeaux,Yuriokis Gamboa, Danny Green, Jesse Vargas and Jorge Linares, is preparing Shumenov for his cruiserweight debut this Saturday night (Dec. 13) against West Virginia fighter Bobby Thomas Jr. (14-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-round bout for the NABA US title, on the Golden Boy Promotions-presented Khan-Alexander card at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I’ve had a lot of changes after my last fight,” the 31-year-old Shumenov said. “I trained myself for the last three fights but now I have added a great trainer, Ismael Salas, to my team.
“I come from Kazakhstan and I was taught the Soviet Union boxing program. The Cuban boxing program has a lot of similarities, so, for me it was easy to pick up Ismael’s teaching method. The addition of Ismael to my team, along with a few other minor changes, has brought about a real positive environment. I look forward again to going to the gym every day and having fun.”
“There was chemistry between us from the beginning,” Salas explained. “In Beibut, I found the old Russian and Cuban boxing fundamentals, so, it was easy for me to approach Beibut’s style but in a professional manner. We talk with all key members of Team Shumenov to discuss his weekly training, including sparring, to do everything the right way.
“We started working together in September and fortunately I provided the right tools he needed for his style. Since the beginning I’ve explained to him that I wouldn’t change his style, just improve it and approach him about working angles better. His strength is toughness and power punching. All he needs is to maintain his game plan. As long as he stays healthy going into a fight – that is most important – moving up to cruiserweight will not affect his power and mobility.”
WBA No. 2 rated cruiserweight Shumenov, a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian who lives in Las Vegas, captured the WBA light heavyweight title January 29, 2010 by way of a 12-round decision over Gabriel Campillo. Fighting as a professional in only his 10th professional bout, Shumenov established the fewest-fights record for the light heavyweight champion of a major organization with his victory over Campillo.
Shumenov successfully defended his WBA light heavyweight title belt five times against previously unbeaten mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Uzelkov (DEC12), former world champion William Joppy (KO6), multiple world title challengersDanny Santiago (TKO) and Enrique Ornelas (DEC12), and previously undefeated Tamas Kovacs (TKO3).