Kazakhstan’s Beibut Shumenov defends his WBA light heavyweight title tonight in Las Vegas against Mexico’s Enrique Ornelas.
It will be the fourth title defense for Shumenov, who took the crown in 2010 with a split-decision victory over Spanish southpaw Gabriel Campillo in a rematch of a 2009 fight that ended with Campillo a majority-decision winner.
Shumenov, 28, is 12-1 with eight knockouts and coming off a ninth-round stoppage of American Danny Santiago in July last year in his most recent bout.
“I’m looking forward to defending my world title belt,” Shumenov said. “My goal has always been and remains to fight the best and unify the world light heavyweight title.”
Ornelas, 31, improved to 33-7 with 21 knockouts by winning three times last year, including his most recent fight, a first-round stoppage in December last year of countryman Heriberto Gutierrez.
Shumenov, a 2008 Olympian, had hoped to face Canada’s Jean Pascal or Britain’s unbeaten Nathan Cleverly, but both of those fighters wanted a home-nation edge, Shumenov promoter Don Chargin said, while Shumenov sought to fight in his homeland or Las Vegas.
“If things go right June 2, we’ll try again to make a unification fight,” Chargin said.
That could open the door to face unbeaten IBF champion Tavoris Cloud or another US fighter, once-beaten Chad Dawson.
Cloud, 24-0 with 19 knockouts, will defend his crown against Pascal in Montreal on Aug. 11, while southpaw Dawson, 31-1 with 17 knockouts, meets unbeaten US super middleweight Andre Ward in September.
“Someday, I hope one of the other world champions will put his belt on the line against mine,” Shumenov said. “Until then, I am only focused on defending my world title belt against the toughest possible challengers, like Ornelas.”