ASTANA, Kazakhstan — World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 3-rated cruiserweight Hizni “The Warrior” Altunkaya (30-1, 17 KOs) isn’t concerned about hitting the road to fight local hero and two-division World Boxing Association (WBA) World Champion, Beibut Shumenov, for the vacant WBA World cruiserweight title, July 7 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
A 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) retired a year ago due to an eye injury that required surgeries, forcing him to relinquish his WBA cruiserweight world title. Shumenov has fully recovered and he’s on a mission to recapture his WBA world cruiserweight title.
Shumenov vs. Altunkaya is a presentation of Shumenov’s company, KZ Event Productions, Inc. The July 7th gala event will be part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Astana being the capital of Kazakhstan. Many political dignitaries from Kazakhstan and around the World are expected to attend Shumenov’s comeback fight, which will air nationally on Qazaqstan TV and QAZSPORT TV, as well as internationally, including BoxNation in the United Kingdom.
“I have no reservations about fighting Shumenov in his country,” 30-year-old Altunkaya said. “I believe that there will be a fair decision and the better fighter that evening will win. I will arrive in Kazakhstan with enough time for me to acclimate.
“I have great respect for what he has achieved. Shumenov has a lot of experience and he is a strong boxer. We are studying some fights to find his weaknesses. I think it will be, technologically, a good fight, in which both of us will take chances to get a knockout. I’m a boxer, but when I see the chance for a knockout, I can change my style. It will be a tough fight and I will do my best to go home as world champion.
Altunkaya, who was born in Turkey but now lives and fights out of fighting out of Germany, knocked out Mathias Reinhardt in the first round, on the Vitali Klitschko versus Shannon Briggs World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight World Championship card in 2010, at O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
In 2011, Altunkaya won a 12-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Salvatore Aiello (29-0) for the Interim World Boxing Federation (WBF) World cruiserweight crown. The gifted Turk captured the vacant Global Boxing Council (GBC) Intercontinental cruiserweight title in 2016, His pro loss happened last year, when he was stopped in round five by former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Cruiserweight World champion Krzysztof Glowacki (26-1).
Shumenov has a tremendous quality experience advantage over Altunkaya, who did not box as an amateur. Although Altunkava has fought more pro rounds than Shumenov, 147-140, the chiseled Kazakh has fought 88 rounds in major world title fights compared to zero for his Turkish opponent.
“The fight against Glowacki was one of the most important experiences in my career,” Altunkaya added. “I know what I did wrong and I will not repeat those mistakes against Shumenov.”
Additional fights will soon be announced. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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