Former cruiserweight titlist Beibut Shumenov retires because of eye injury

Beibut Shumenov, who vacated his cruiserweight world title last week because a severe eye injury prevented him from making a long overdue mandatory defense, announced his retirement from boxing on Monday because of the injury.

"I have regrettably relinquished my WBA cruiserweight title and retired from boxing because of a traumatic eye injury suffered the week before my last scheduled fight," Shumenov said. "I'm extremely disappointed my boxing career has ended like this but, unfortunately, injuries are part of this sport and there's nothing I can do about it. I still have blurred vision and I need to have an additional surgery next month to try to further repair (the eye) so I don't risk blindness in my (right) eye."

Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), 33, who is from Kazakhstan but has lived for many years in Las Vegas, was scheduled to make a mandatory defense against interim titlist Yunier Dorticos on April 29 at Sam's Town in Las Vegas. However, Shumenov suffered the injury -- a severely scratched cornea -- during the final sparring session of his training camp and withdrew from the bout, which had already been delayed multiple times. When Shumenov vacated his "regular" title last week, Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) was elevated to replace him.

Earlier this month, Shumenov's eye surgeon, Dr. Kent L. Wellish, sent the WBA a letter outlining the fighter's medical issues.

"Mr. Beibut Shumenov has a serious ocular issue, a recurrent corneal erosion of his right eye that with continued fighting puts him at risk for permanently losing his eyesight," Wellish wrote. "It is my medical opinion that he should permanently refrain from sparring, training and boxing due to the severity of damage to his eye and the high risk of further damage of vision impairment, including the possibility of permanent vision loss."

Shumenov, a 2004 Olympian for Kazakhstan, fought for a light heavyweight world title in just his ninth professional bout, losing a majority decision to Gabriel Campillo in August 2009. In the rematch in January 2010, Shumenov won a controversial split decision and the belt to set the division record for fewest number of fights needed (10) to win a light heavyweight world title.

Shumenov made five successful defenses before getting knocked down and losing a decision to Bernard Hopkins in their 2014 world title unification bout.

Shumenov then moved up to the cruiserweight division but only fought three more times, including a 10th-round knockout of Junior Anthony Wright in his most recent fight, in May 2016, to claim the vacant WBA "regular" title he eventually vacated last week without ever defending.

"I'd like to thank my family, my team throughout the years, friends and fans for their continued support all these years," Shumenov said. "I was proud to wear the WBA championship belt for many years as a two-division champion. I'm grateful to WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, his father, and all those in my WBA family. It was quite a ride and I look forward with great anticipation to the next chapter of my life with my son and future endeavors."