By Lem Satterfield –
A Showtime-televised 175-pound unification bout between Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov will be supported by Peter Quillin’s third defense of his WBO middleweight title against Lukas Konecny on April 19. The card will take place at the DC Armory in Washington.
“The fans in D.C. have been enthusiastic and supportive of the sport whenever we’ve brought an event there, and I know they will love this championship doubleheader,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, in a release.
“Bernard Hopkins continues to amaze everyone with his performances in the ring, but when he faces Shumenov, he’ll have to pull out all his veteran tricks to keep his amazing streak going. This may be the toughest test he’s faced at light heavyweight.”
In his last fight, Hopkins, 49, unanimously decisioned Karo Murat in defense of the IBF belt he won by unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.
Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title in May of 2011 before losing the belt to Chad Dawson by majority decsion a year later.
During an interview with RingTV.com last month, Hopkins said he was “itching” for a knockout, “because I haven’t had a knockout since 2004, when I knocked out Oscar De La Hoya,” referring to a ninth-round stoppage in September of that year.
Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 knockouts) has history in the D.C. area, having made his first attempt at winning a title there, falling by unanimous decision to Roy Jones Jr. at RFK Stadium in 1993.
But Hopkins later won the IBF middleweight title in nearby Landover, by seventh-round knockout over Segundo Mercado in 1995.
Hopkins went on to defend the crown a record 20 times before losing to Jermain Taylor in 2005. He made his last appearance in D.C. with a seventh-round technical knockout of Robert Allen in 1999.
“It’s no secret that my one of my biggest goals has been to unify the titles, and getting to do that in a city where I have a lot of history is the best-case scenario,” said Hopkins.
“I’m coming back to break another record by unifying the title, and I’m looking to get my first knockout since I fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2004. I know Shumenov is tough, but I’m tougher and I’m not going to let him make a name for himself by being the one to stop me.”
Hopkins was ringside in December when Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) ended an 18-month absence by scoring a third-round stoppage of Tomas Kovacs for the fifth defense of his WBA belt.
A 30-year-old native of Kazakhstan now living in Las Vegas, Shumenov avenged his only loss by beating Gabriel Campillo for the title in 2009.
In doing so, Shumenov established a record for the light heavyweight division by defeating Campillo in just his 10th professional bout. He made his first defense six months later with a unanimous decision over Vyacheslav Uzelkov, who had knocked out Campillo in 2007.
Shumenov will be making his first trip to D.C.
“I am very excited that the fight is going to happen against one of the greatest fighters ever,” said Shumenov. “I am going to do everything possible and impossible to get the victory.”
In his last three fights, including two defenses of the title he won fighting Hassan N’Dam in 2012, Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) has scored a combined 11 knockdowns.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and defend my title once again,” said Quillin, 30. “I’m excited to be fighting in front of the great fans in D.C. and I will give them a show on April 19. Konecny is an experienced challenger, and you can’t overlook anyone with 50 wins, but I’m going home with the title, and I’ll be looking for another knockout.”
A 35-year-old former title challenger who never has been stopped, Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs) will be after his third straight win since falling by unanimous decision to Zaurbek Baysangurov by unanimous decision in 2012.
“I have a lot more experience than Quillin, and the fans will see that on April 19,” said Konecy, who has fought mostly in his home country, the Czech Republic.
“This is my first fight in the U.S. and I don’t plan on going home without that belt. Every fighter dreams of fighting for and winning a world championship, and I am thankful for the chance to do that against Peter Quillin.”