WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernard Hopkins will attempt to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to unify world titles when the IBF light heavyweight champion opposes WBA champion Beibut Shumenov on April 19th at the DC Armory.
“I’m trying to force history to write another book on me,” the 49-year-old Hopkins said Tuesday.
Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), of Philadelphia, already holds the records for oldest fighter to win and successfully defend a title. He captured the IBF crown in March 2013 with a decision over Tavoris Cloud, and then defended it with an October win against Karo Murat.
Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) is a 30-year-old native of Kazakhstan who lives in Las Vegas. He won the WBA title by defeating Gabriel Campillo in 2010 and has made five successful defenses.
Hopkins’ long reign as middleweight champion ended nearly two years before his opponent’s 2007 pro debut.
“He has something I need to be the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world,” Hopkins said of Shumenov. “He’s in the way of that.”
In the co-main event April 19, WBO middleweight champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) defends his title against WBO European junior middleweight champion Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs).
Hopkins, meanwhile, talked of fighting when he’s 50.
“I believe I’m the most feared fighter in the world over the last 15, maybe 20 years, in spite of my age,” Hopkins said. “It’s not me bragging. Folks love me, hate me. People understand how dangerous I can be to a fighter’s career going forward after having to (fight me).”
He spoke at length about the mental aspect of boxing, and said his reputation and resume have helped offset any age disadvantage he might have.
“Any fighter of this era who steps in the ring with Bernard Hopkins has to know or think – when he’s in the bed, when he’s running, when he’s training – he has to think `Man, I’m going to get in there with Bernard Hopkins,'” he said.
Shumenov, while expressing confidence in himself, didn’t necessarily disagree with Hopkins’ assessment.
“He’s a super human,” Shumenov said. “He’s the best in the division. He has the highest boxing IQ and the highest boxing skills.”
A 2004 Olympian for Kazakhstan, Shumenov won the IBA title in his eighth professional fight before adding the WBA title two fights later. This will be just his 16th professional fight.
“A lot of people underestimate me. The amount of fights, that’s how they judge me,” he said. “Soon they’ll find out (about) my abilities, that I belong to an elite level, that I am the best light heavyweight champion in the world.”