Beibut Shumenov dominates Viacheslav Uzelkov to defend title

by Geoffrey Ciani - WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov (10-1, 6 KOs) successfully defended his title against a rather lethargic Viacheslav Uzelkov (22-1, 14 KOs). Shumenov was awarded a unanimous decision victory for his workmanlike effort with official scores of 117-109, 118-108, and 118-108. The fight took place outdoors at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. Temperatures soared at a scorching 110 degrees when the card began and finally dipped below the century mark at the start of the main event.

Shumenov entered the contest with a lot to prove. There was a good deal of controversy when he won the WBA strap in his rematch against Gabriel Campillo back in January. The victory against Campillo gave Shumenov the unique distinction of winning a piece of the light heavyweight title quicker than any other title holder in the divisionís rich history. He did this in just ten fights. In the eyes of many, however, he did not deserve to win the title in the first place. With this long shadow of doubt cast over him, Shumenov needed an impressive victory against Uzelkov in order to prove his championship merit.

Things did not start well for Shumenov in the opening round. He started off pressing the action and soon found himself on the canvas compliments of a well timed left hook from Uzelkov. Shumenov bounced back in round two. He won the round based on a superior work rate and landed some thunderous body shots along the way. Shumenov was really loading up on committing to his punches. Round three saw more of the same with Shumenov getting the best of Uzelkov on sheer activity. At the end of the round, Shumenov landed a sneaky right hand just before the bell which disrupted Uzelkovís equilibrium and sent him crashing down.

After that, Shumenov never looked back. He simply outworked his more experienced foe and successfully kept him off balance and out of range throughout most of the contest. Uzelkov did not help his own cause with his refusal to jab. In fact, it appeared that he spent more time blinking than he did punching. Whether this was a result of the heat, the outdoor venue, or the abundance of shots he absorbed is uncertain. What was certain was that Shumenov was in complete control of the action and never afforded Uzelkov the opportunity to land another big punch to change the momentum of the fight. Shumenov became a bit less active over the tail end of the fight, but he was still doing more than enough to decisively win rounds.

With the victory, Shumenov probably silenced some of his critics. After all, despite struggling in two close encounters against Campillo, he did manage to thoroughly dominate Uzelkov who was the only man to ever stop Campillo inside the distance. It was an impressive effort by Shumenov. At the same time it is difficult to gauge exactly how praiseworthy this performance was given Uzelkovís seemingly lackluster performance. Whether or not Shumenov has what it takes to compete against the best the division has to offer still remains to be seen.


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Article posted on 24.07.2010

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