Cruiserweight titlist Beibut Shumenov and interim titlist Yunier Dorticos both will end 11-month layoffs when they meet in a mandatory bout that will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on April 29, PBC announced Friday.
Also on the card at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 10 p.m. ET), Carlos Zambrano will defend his interim featherweight belt against Claudio Marrero in the co-feature.
“This is a true boxing fans’ show,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, Shumenov’s promoter. “Beibut Shumenov and Yunier Dorticos are two of the best cruiserweights in the sport and they’re stepping into the ring to prove it.
“Carlos Zambrano and Claudio Marrero have been circling each other for a while now, which has heightened the anticipation of their finally meeting in the ring. The intensity in both matches means excitement for the fans.”
Shumenov claimed a vacant secondary title — Russia’s Denis Lebedev owns the top belt — with a 10th-round knockout of Junior Wright in May 2016, but has not fought since as the mandatory fight with Dorticos was delayed time and again.
Dorticos co-promoter Caribe Promotions won a purse bid for the bout in November with a stunningly high offer of $350,001 and had 90 days to put on the fight. Caribe Promotions defaulted on the bid, forcing it forfeit around $45,000 between its bidding fee and a 10 percent down payment that was split between the fighters.
The rights to promote the fight then went to TGB Promotions, which was the underbidder at $201,000. Shumenov, 33, a Kazakhstan native living in Las Vegas, is entitled to $150,750 (75 percent of the TGB bid) and Dorticos $50,250 (25 percent).
Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), a former light heavyweight titleholder, said he has trained regularly since he won the belt.
“I’ve been in the gym working hard since my last fight,” Shumenov said. “I have been ready this entire time to defend my belt against anyone who is willing to step up. Denis Lebedev wanted to fight anyone but me and Dorticos disappeared after I signed the bout agreement to fight him Feb. 11 in Miami. I am glad that, after many fight date changes, the fight is finally here on April 29. “
Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs), 31, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, knocked out Youri Kalenga in the 10th round of a tremendous slugfest to win the interim belt in May 2016 in Paris.
“I have been waiting a long time to reach this level and I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Dorticos said. “I can’t wait for the whole world to see me in action. I’ve had a great training camp and my whole team has been working very hard. Shumenov is a great champion and I thank him for stepping in the ring with me. I can’t wait for that bell to ring so I can start fighting.”
The 32-year-old Zambrano (26-0, 11 KOs), of Peru, won an interim belt in March 2015, defended it in August of that year and has not fought since.
“Training to defend my title has been intense,” said Zambrano, who will be fighting for the first time since signing with Mayweather Promotions. “We have a great team who put together a plan for me and I am giving everything I have to them. I have to get in the ring and show what I am capable of. There is only one result of this fight: I am going to win. Whether it’s by knockout or points, I will leave the ring a champion.”
Marrero (21-1, 15 KOs), a 28-year-old southpaw from the Dominican Republic, has won seven fights in a row since dropping a competitive decision to former world titleholder Jesus Cuellar in 2013.
“I am prepared to give the fans an exciting fight,” Marrero said. “I am focused and ready. I’ve been training hard with my team and I only see this fight going one way, and that’s me leaving with the win.”