LAS VEGAS - World Boxing Association (WBA) Interim Cruiserweight World champion Beibut Shumenov (16-2, 10 KOs) is targeting the May 21st unification title winner between WBA titlist Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21 KOs) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Victor Emilio "El Tyson de Abasto" Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KOs).
When Shumenov defeated B.J. Flores (31-1-1, 20 KOs) last July in Las Vegas, the former WBA light heavyweight champion became WBA Interim champion as well as its No. 1 mandatory contender.
Lebedev, however, hasn't fought a mandatory fight since last April 10 in which he won a 12-round decision over then Interim WBA champion Youri Kalenga. Lebedev made a voluntary tittle offense last November, stopping Lateef Kayode in the eighth round.
Shumenov will be back in the ring next month (April), full details forthcoming, and then he will challenge the Lebedev-Ramirez winner within 90/120 days of their outcome.
"I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to fight the Lebedev-Ramirez winner because it's always been my goal to unify the titles," Shumenov explained. "Lebedev has always been my target. Ramirez is the other fighter I've really wanted to fight and my manager tried to make a fight between us, too.
"I've been in the gym since my last fight, training hard to perfect my skills. Now, I am a completely different fighter since I fought last July. My team is extremely happy and confident that I can beat all of the other world cruiserweight champions."
Last December, Shumenov was scheduled to defend his Interim WBA crown against two-time world cruiserweight champion Krzyesztof "Diablo" Wlodarczyk (50-3-1, 36 KOs), but a serious medical issue concerning a family member forced Shumenov to withdraw from the aforementioned fight.
"The opportunity to fight the winner of Lebedev/Ramirez in a big unification fight just came about this year and I didn't have that option back when I agreed to initially fight Wlodarczyk back in December and I was unable to foresee what would happen to my family personally," 32-year-old Shumenov said. "I have no problem fighting Wlodarczyk in the future, but only after I fight the Lebedev-Ramirez unification winner. In addition, at any time, I have no problem fighting WBA No. 2-ranked Yunier Dorticos.
"Right now, I'm at my fighting prime yet still improving, training with my coach, Ismael Salas. I want to show the world my skills before I get too old. Literally, I'm ready to fight tomorrow and I've been ready for months. I'll be back in the ring next month and then I'll get my shot at the Lebedev-Ramirez winner."