At some point in time you’ve got to figure the Bernard Hopkins story is going to come to an end. At 49-years-old and a title holder in the light heavyweight division Hopkins is currently preparing to meet a man 19 years his junior. That man is Beibut Shumenov and many aren’t giving him much of a chance against the “Ol’ Man River” of the sport.
However, Shumenov is different from some of the recent foes that Hopkins has encountered. He is a multi-millionaire without boxing as he is a construction magnate in his native Kazakhstan. He is also an attorney, speaks five languages and resides in a mansion in Las Vegas behind the high walls of a gated community.
While none of those things will help him defeat Bernard Hopkins on April 19, his dedication to training just might. Shumenov spends the first part of his day in his home resting in a hyperbaric chamber which he believes helps him with his stamina and training recovery. He has a home gym that he works out in, completely equipped with the best athletic equipment. He then goes to another gym in Las Vegas for sparring and more training. What’s more, he also spends an hour or so each day engaged in Greco-Roman wrestling.
The wrestling may come in handy with Hopkins who has a long history of being a “grappler” himself. Hopkins’ style is punch, clutch and hold and he has used that to stifle the offense of his opponents on many occasions.
Shumenov’s boxing style is unorthodox as he holds his hands at waist level, wades in behind quick punches fired from every direction and he’s very busy with great stamina and resilience. He’s all offense and spends little time on the defensive side of things. He moves quickly in and out of punching range.
“I’ve developed my own style,” explains Shumenov. “I experimeted and researched and tried a lot of different things and I feel confident now. I feel comfortable in any zone. I can box, I have power and I feel very comfortable now.”
Shumenov has been a light heavyweight titlist since 2010 and has long had his eye on Hopkins and a desire to unify the titles.
“I don’t plan on knocking Bernard Hopkins out,” says Shumenov. “But I do want to be a champion and create my own legacy. I know a lot about Bernard Hopkins, but I’m not going to reveal what I am working on to defeat him. I’m here to make my own history. Hopkins and I have mutual respect for one another, but in the ring I’ll fight hard for what’s mine – and what’s mine is my title."
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