By Jake Donovan
Much was made of the four bouts scheduled for a purse bid hearing by the World Boxing Association, although the one fight to actually make its way to a promoter is the least likely to generate worldwide interest.
An ordered cruiserweight title consolidation fight between “Regular” titlist Beibut Shumenov and “Interim” beltholder Arsen Goulamiriam was the only fight to make the cut during Wednesday’s hearing at WBA headquarters in Panama City. Shumenov’s promoter, Don King secured the rights to the fight, which now carries a springtime target date.
King bid $821,000 for the cruiserweight battle, well outpacing the $621,500 offer submitted by Sébastian Acariés, Goulamiriam’s promoter. With the winning bid came three proposed dates for the title consolidation clash: April 15 in Monte Carlo, Monaco; April 30 in Shumenov’s homeland of Arslan, Kazakhstan; and May 13 in New York City.
Signed contracts along with a finalized date will have to be submitted to the WBA within 14 days in order to avoid defaulting on the purse bid offer. As per WBA terms, Shumenov is entitled to 55% of the purse split—$451,550—as the regular titlist, with the remaining 45% ($369,450) going to Goulamiriam as the interim titlist.
Shumenov (18-2, 12KOs) moved up from cruiserwieght in 2014 following a three-year run as a reigning light heavyweight titlist. That reign ended in a lopsided loss to Bernard Hopkins in their April ’14 unification bout, having since won four in a row.
Given the massive gaps in activity, Shumenov has actually served three separate reigns as a cruiserweight beltholder.
The now-35 year old Kazhakstani—who lives and trains in Las Vegas—picked up an interim title with a controversial 12-round win over BJ Flores in July ’15. Some 10 months later came a 10th round knockout of Junior Wright to collect a “Regular” title, of which he would be ultimately stripped after an eye injury forced a cancellation of his ordered fight with Yunier Dorticos, at one point announcing his retirement in 2017.
As with most boxing retirements, Shumenov’s attempt at a life after boxing didn’t take, as he announced his ring return in 2018. He’d make his way an actual fight last July, scoring a 9th round knockout of Hizni Aitunkaya in Kazakhstan—his first fight in his birth country since 2011—to begin his second tour as a “Regular” titlist, having yet to defend the title.
Goulamiriam (24-0, 16KOs)—a 31-year old Frenchman from California by way of Armenia—entered the title fray last March, stopping previously unbeaten Ryad Merhy in 11 rounds to pick up an interim title. One defense has followed, a 9th round stoppage of Mark Flanagan last October in France, where the majority of his career has taken place.
His attempt at upgrading his current version of the WBA cruiserweight title will require a road trip, although given the recent history of both Shumenov and King it remains anyone’s guess as to whether this fight happens in a timely fashion.
For now, it’s the only one of the four bouts recently ordered by the WBA with a tentatively scheduled date.
The sanctioning body’s continued efforts to sort out its messy heavyweight division led to an ordered clash between interim titlist Trevor Bryan and unbeaten contender Jarrell Miller. That fight was removed from the docket and scrapped altogether upon the big reveal Wednesday morning of Miller going on to face unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. The two are set to collide June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
For the moment, it leaves Bryan without an opponent and waiting on the oft-postponed clash between Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo to whittle the number of WBA secondary titlists down to one.
Also scrubbed was an ordered 122-pound title fight between Daniel Roman and unbeaten mandatory challenger Murojdon Akhmadaliev. Roman will instead move on to a title unification clash with International Boxing Federation (IBF) champ TJ Doheny. The clash received the WBA’s blessing with the condition that the winner next face Akhmadaliev.
Still in queue is an ordered lightweight title fight between unified titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko and mandatory challenger—and former beltholder—Anthony Crolla. The sanctioning body granted a second extension for their respective promoters, Bob Arum (Top Rank) and Eddie Hearn (Matchroom Boxing) to reach an agreement.
All four aforementioned bouts were previously scheduled for a February 6 purse bid hearing, with the sanctioning body pushing the entire slate back one week.