By Luke Furman
WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov has responded to some recent critical comments from Sergey Kovalev, the WBO's champion at 175-pounds.
Last month, Kovalev (23-0-1, 21KOs) took a direct shot at Shumenov (14-1, 9KOs), as the Russian puncher voiced his disgust with World Boxing Association's decision to make Shumenov a "super champion" at light heavyweight.
"Beibut Shumenov is a world champion only in writing. To not box for a year and a half, and then get the status of super champion.....it's funny. The WBA is a [sanctioning body] that has some strange, inappropriate decisions. Perhaps the officials simply are feeding off of him, because, as I have heard, Beibut is quite financially secure," Kovalev told Championat.
Shumenov was very surprised with the comments, especially since the two fighters have had a respectful relationship.
"[Kovalev's comments] were unpleasant. Kovalev was my guest during an evening of boxing in Shymkent. Then he was at my rematch with Campillo in the United States and congratulated me on my victory. We always talked normally with each other. But now that he won the title, he started to say things like that. Why? For what? I do not know what he imagines about himself. If he wants us to meet in the ring, he does not need a lot of words to get it done. Let him say: 'I need a fight with Shumenov.' That's all. I'm ready to fight him. And I've talked about it with [Golden Boy CEO] Richard Schaefer and [adviser] Al Haymo. Their answer: 'do not worry, we will get you this fight.' But [the Kovalev fight will have to happen] after [I get my] fight with [IBF champion] Bernard Hopkins," Shumenov said.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org