Beibut Shumenov won a vacant 200-pound world title last year, and now he’s set to begin his campaign as champion against unbeaten knockout artist Yunier Dorticos.
After some delay in setting up the fight, Beibut Shumenov will make his first title defense against Dorticos on April 29 in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas (FS1, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Televised coverage will also include unbeaten interim 126-pound champion Carlos Zambrano (26-0, 11 KOs) defending his title against Dominican contender Claudio Marrero (21-1, 15 KOs).
Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Shumenov, a former 175-pound titleholder who became a two-division world champion last May with a 10th-round TKO of Junior Anthony Wright in Las Vegas.
The winner of Shumenov-Dorticos is expected to take on Russian southpaw Denis Lebedev, who holds the 200-pound “super” world title.
“I’ve been in the gym working hard since my last fight,’’ Shumenov said. “I have been ready this entire time to defend my belt against anyone who is willing to step up.
“Denis Lebedev wanted to fight anyone but me and Dorticos disappeared after I signed the bout agreement to fight him February 11th in Miami. I am glad that, after many fight date changes, the fight is finally here on April 29.”
Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) defeated B.J. Flores by unanimous decision in July 2015 to gain an interim version of the 200-pound world title.
The 33-year-old Kazakhstan native, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, represented his country in the 2004 Olympics, turned professional in 2007 and made history in January 2010 by winning a 175-pound world title faster than any fighter in division history.
After losing a majority decision to Gabriel Campillo in his first title challenge in August 2009, Shumenov won the rematch by split decision to become a world champion in just his 10th pro fight.
He lost his title to Bernard Hopkins by split decision in April 2014 before moving up to 200 pounds.
Dorticos made his pro debut in August 2009 following a decorated amateur career in Cuba. Now living in Miami, the 31-year-old slugger has made quick work of most of his opponents, gaining 18 of his 20 stoppages in four rounds or less, including 10 first-round KOs.
He won his interim title last May with a 10th-round TKO of Youri Kalenga in Paris in a thrilling bout that received consideration for Fight of the Year.
“I have been waiting a long time to reach this level and I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Dorticos said. “I want to thank my team at Caribe Promotions and Warriors Boxing for making this happen. I can’t wait for the whole world to see me in action.
“I’ve had a great training camp and my whole team has been working very hard. Shumenov is a great champion and I thank him for stepping in the ring with me. I can’t wait for that bell to ring so I can start fighting.”
For a complete look at Shumenov vs Dorticos, visit our fight page.