Former Light Heavyweight title holder Beibut Shumenov (15-2, 10) has often left us scratching our heads at one thing or another, such as his recent #1 ranking in the WBA's latest ratings. That #1 ranking however looks like it is set to lead him to an "interim" title fight on June 20th when he faces 36 year old American BJ Flores (31-1-1, 20).
The Cruiserweight division, which is one of the most packed and exciting in the sport, has given us a host of amazing bouts in recent years. Sadly however this isn't set to be one of them.
The crude Kazakh, who claimed the WBA Light Heavyweight title in his 10th professional bout, was a former amateur stand out. After starting his career with real promise he has floundered and was very fortunate to claim his title, via a hugely controversial decision against Gabriel Campillo in 2010. After claiming the title his reign was mediocre, to be polite, with 5 defenses in 4 years, including a decision over the horribly shot William Joppy and a stoppage of the poor Danny Santiago.
In 2014 Shumenov was clearly beaten by Bernard Hopkins in a WBA/IBF unification bout at Light Heavyweight, though some how Gustavo Padilla managed to score the bout to Shumenov in one of the worst cards in recent years. Following that bout Shumenov stated he was unable to make the Light Heavyweight limit comfortably and made the move to Cruiserweight.
Despite having never fought at the weight, and having lost his previous bout, Shumenov was immediately given a lofty ranking by the WBA.
Since then Shumenov has fought once, stopping the limited Bobby Thomas Jr in 5 rounds. As for Flores, he has recently received plaudits for his work behind a microphone however his in ring activity has been lacking with just 8 bouts since the start of 2010. Of those 8 bouts 3 came last year over opponents with a combined 47-21 record. As of the WBA's latest rankings, released on May 16th, Flores was ranked #7, which makes his opportunity to fight for an "interim" title even more insulting to much more deserving fighters.
Whilst we really do love the Cruiserweight division as fans of the sport we do need to wonder what the WBA are actually playing at here. We don't like to play the "political game" but they should actually be ashamed of sanctioning this, if it goes ahead as is being reported.
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