Shumenov eyes mandatory fight vs. Lebedev

Cruiserweight titlist Beibut Shumenov would like to unify belts with fellow titleholder Denis Lebedev this summer. Emily Harney

Beibut Shumenov holds a secondary cruiserweight world title, which makes him the mandatory challenger for unified full titleholder Denis Lebedev and he wants to fight the Russian puncher this summer.

Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), 32, a native of Kazakhstan living in Las Vegas, retained his belt by 10th-round knockout of Junior Wright on May 21 in Las Vegas, a few hours after the 36-year-old Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) knocked out Victor Emilio Ramirez in the second round in Moscow to unify two titles in an impressive performance.

The fight between Lebedev and Shumenov is due by Sept. 21 and it can’t come soon enough for Shumenov.

“My main goal is to unify all of the titles and fight all the best fighters,” Shumenov said. “This has always been my goal -- to unify -- and I'm motivated even more knowing that I am going to fight for those two titles very soon. It doesn't concern me whether it goes to a purse bid, or where the location is. However, I hope the parties can get the best deal worked out for everyone involved.”

It is unclear if Lebedev will look to make a deal with Shumenov or seek out a bigger fight. But Lebedev would like to fight in the United States, where Shumenov has been fighting for the past several years.

“We would be happy to bring Lebedev to the U.S. and have been looking for an opportunity for Lebedev in the U.S. for the last year or so,” said Vadim Kornilov, Lebedev’s manager.

Shumenov hopes Lebedev will fight him.

“I have heard rumors that Lebedev doesn't want to fight me and, if this is true and he relinquishes his WBA super belt, then I want to fight (interim titlist Yunier) Dorticos because every organization should only have one champion in each division,” Shumenov said. “I hope this isn't the case, as I have been waiting to fight Lebedev since I won the WBA interim title back in July of 2015. The WBA has ordered us to fight within 120 days of May 21st. I am ready, willing and able to fight him and I hope he is ready, too."