LAS VEGAS – 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist Kevin Barry is training a unique, talented quartet of boxers from Kazakhstan, featuring WBA/IBA Light Heavyweight Champion Beibut Shumenov, and Uzbekistan out of his gym, Team Barry Boxing, in Henderson, Nevada.
Shumenov (11-1, 7 KOs) and light welterweight Alexandr Zhuravskiy (10-0, 8 KOs) are Kazakhstan natives, while WBA No. 6 light heavyweight Gayrat Ahmedov (16-0-1, 10 KOs) and WBA No. 13 welterweight Ravshan Hudaynazarov (14-0, 12 KOs), are from Uzbekistan. All four members of this unique foursome now live in Las Vegas, where they’re trained by Barry, who guided heavyweight title challenger David Tua for 12 years.
Shumenov owns and operates the Las Vegas-based KZ Event Productions along with his brother, Chingis.Zhuravskiy, Ahmedov and Hudaynazarov are promoted by KZ Event Productions and Beibut is a hands-on promoter, guiding their careers as a promoter/fighter, as well as in terms of training, fight preparation, and selecting opponents.
Shumenov, the 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, and New Zealander Barry have developed a special relationship in the past 12 months, including Beibut’s WBA title-winning performance against defending champion Gabriel Campillo and two successful title-defenses versus mandatory, previously unbeaten Vlacheslav Uzelkov and 3-time world champion William Joppy. Shumenov holds the record for fewest fights (10) to capture a major world light heavyweight title.
“Training Beibut for only two months going into his second fight against Campillo,” Barry explained, “I didn’t know how much of a difference it would make but with Beibut’s exceptional abilities and willingness to learn it was enough. We had more time working together for the Uzelkov fight and he showed tremendous improvement. After a full year I know my fighter: he is much more accomplished, better skilled, and he’s made huge improvements in his abilities. Beibut is more comfortable and polished and he has grown into his role the last 12 months.
“Originally, I had said give me 5-6 fights to see what type of fighter Beibut is. We’ve now had three fights together and his conditioning has improved greatly. He has better balanced and understands distance in fights. He’s gone from a primarily 1-2 puncher into one with extensive energy and an arsenal of weapons. Beibut is comfortable throwing and landing blows to any part of his opponent’s body. He has also grown into a world champion; confident in himself, and he shows more maturity than many fighters with more years in this business. As a fighter, he has grown a lot in 12 months, winning the WBA title in only his 10th fight and defending it in grand fashion against Uzelkov and under difficult circumstances against Joppy. It’s incredible that he’s made all of these accomplishments having turned pro only three years ago.
“Beibut challenges himself by setting high goals and he will still continue to improve. I said I needed 5-6 fights to see what type of fighter he is but, by then, he may unify all of the belts. Beibut is very driven and the sky’s the limit for him. He believes there’s nothing he can’t do. I’m excited about what he’s done in the past 12 months. Under the circumstances, I thought Beibut’s performance against Joppy was incredible. After (WBO champion Juergen) Braemher pulled out, in my opinion, like a coward in the middle of the night without telling anybody, Beibut was in a fight I didn’t like because he was fighting a last-minute replacement with a lot of experience (Joppy). Mentally and emotionally, I was concerned because he was deflated and he had to get back up in only three days. Everything worked out well for us. He is taking the right steps to be a star in the future.”
Barry also broke-down the other trio of defeated fighters he trains — Ahmedov, Interim PABA and WBA International Light Heavyweight Champion; Hudaynazarov, WBA FEDALATIN Welterweight Champion; and Zhuravskiy, WBA International Super Lightweight Champion.
“Gayrat is a strong, durable fighter who is a terrific body puncher. He has heavy hands and we’re working to get him throwing more punches. Ravshan has phenomenal output. He throws 6 to 10 punches at a time and he’s a devastating body puncher. Body punches take more out of a fighter than head shots and Ravshan loves hitting the body. They can’t shake-off his body punches. He has developed into a seasoned fighter who has gone around gyms in Las Vegas beating-up most guys. Ravshan is legitimate. His progress has been very exciting. Alex, I’ve only had two months with but he is a real exciting prospect. He is a very strong, tough fighter who’s a huge 140-pounder. You would think he’s a 154-pounder — he’s bigger than Ravshan! Alex is a southpaw with a great amateur background. He is a good puncher who loves to fight. He is more like Beibut than Gayrat or Ravshan. You can never ask him to do too much. Picture an old-school Russian fighter and that’s what he looks like with that great work ethic. He didn’t speak a word of English when he got here but he’s very disciplined and listens to me and my assistant coach, Dewey Cooper.”
Despite working with four foreign-born fighters, Barry insists that there are no communication barriers because all of them now speak English, maybe not as fluent as Beibut, but more than enough to understand what they have to do. Beibut also speaks Russian, Kazak, Turkish and Uzbekistan; Uzbekistan and Russian for Gayrat, Ravshan only Uzbekistan, and Zhuravskiy speaks Russian and Kazak.
“Boxing has a universal language – signs and showing what we mean — that all of us understand,” Barry concluded. “Ravshan’s improvement speaking English is out of sight. Beibut has made the transition so much easier for me by translating in order to explain small details to them. He has been instrumental taking part in their careers as a leader for them to follow. Beibut sets the standard and the others try and keep up with him.”
For additional information about Shumenov or any of the KZ Event Productions fighters go online to www.KZEventProductions.com.