WBA and IBA Light Heavyweight Champion Beibut Shumenov (10-1, 6 KOs) has been preparing for the biggest fight in his very short, but storied career, training for "The Unification," his Jan. 8, 2011 blockbuster boxing event first at Team Barry Boxing in Henderson, Nevada with his head trainer and 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist Kevin Barry, and now in Shymkent.
"The Unification," presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions and KZ Event Productions in association with Universum Box-Promotions, will feature Shumenov and WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Juergen Braehmer (36-2, 29 KOs) putting their respective titles on the line kicking-off the 2011 boxing year in exciting fashion, in a 12-round WBA-WBO Light Heavyweight Unification Championship on January 8, 2011 at the Ice Mansion in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.
Shymkent-native Shumenov, now fighting out of Las Vegas, owns and operates KZ Event Productions along with his brother Chingis is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions.
Shumenov is a workout "animal," unlike anybody Barry has been associated with in the past. "I'm constantly putting the brakes on and the only time we butt heads is when I try to slowdown his training," Barry noted. "Training camp has been outstanding. I've never worked with or been around anybody like Beibut, who is very mentally strong, focused and disciplined.
"He is 100-percent, totally committed to each and every fight, unlike anybody I've ever seen. He blocks everything out and has no outside life. His whole purpose -- from the time he gets up in the morning to going back to bed at night -- is to do as much as possible to be the best boxer that he can possibly be. As a trainer, he is a Godsend to be around. Beibut is a machine - nothing less!
"We've had a very productive, yet relaxed training camp. We start every day with a hug. Our conversations at the gym always incorporate a joke from somebody. Ravshan (Hudaynazarov, 13-0, 11 KOs) has become quite a jokester; the more English he learns, the funnier he gets."
Unlike many fighters, Beibut doesn't blow-up between fights, "He eats very clean," Barry added. "He eats a very disciplined diet allowing his body to perform at maximum level for training."
"I am very excited about being in Beibut's hometown and him returning home as the WBA champion," Barry remarked. "He is a much different fighter than the last time he fought there. The weather is better than I expected here in Shymkent and Beibut has his mind in complete fight mode. He's ready for everything."
Braehmer is also a world champion and Team Shumenov has been preparing and working on a game plan to fight the southpaw. "Every minute of training in the gym has been geared around our fight plan," Barry explained. "Beibut is now able to do things he couldn't do before and the exciting thing is that he is still improving. I'm asking more of him and he's taken every step in stride.
"Braehmer is an experienced 11-year pro and WBO champion who must be respected. Experience is big in this business. On paper, if the fight was judged on experience, we'd come in second. But Beibut sets high goals for himself; the bigger the challenge, the higher his motivation. We respect Braehmer and he has a solid team around him. But I could not be more confident than I am. Beibut is doing terrific things in training and I believe he is on track to win both belts.
"We've studied Braehmer and put a strategy in place like we did for the Uzelkov defense. It's different, of course, but everything planned and worked on is conducive for resulting in Beibut winning the fight."
After defending his title July 23, Beibut's next fight was tentatively scheduled to be held in December, so Barry booked a 3-week vacation for his family to visit his parents for the holidays. His family spent Christmas and New Year's back in New Zealand, but without the Christmas planner. Barry instead is with his boxing family, Team Shumenov in Kazakhstan, doing their own celebration of bringing all titles back to the United States.
"My wife, Tanya, and our three children (17-year-old Jordy and 15-year-old twin boys Taylor and Mitchell), haven't been in New Zealand in four years," Barry commented about being away from his family during the holidays. "I was back there in February. I planned this trip earlier in the year. They'll miss me but they understand my job.
"I have an incredibly understanding wife who has supported me 100-percent throughout our marriage. She's eager for me to come back with the WBA and WBO belts. After getting back from Kazakhstan, I'll stay in Las Vegas for a week and then fly down there to visit my parents.