Former two-division world titleholder Beibut Shumenov, who said in January that he was ending a retirement initially brought on by an eye injury, announced his comeback fight on Thursday.
Shumenov, who won world titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, will face Hizni Altunkaya for a vacant secondary cruiserweight title on July 7 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), 34, a 2004 Olympian from Kazakhstan who now lives in Las Vegas, has not fought since a 10th-round knockout of Junior Wright to win the same vacant secondary cruiserweight title in May 2016 in Las Vegas.
He vacated the title because of a severe right eye injury sustained in training for a mandatory defense against Yunier Dorticos that caused blurred vision and necessitated surgery. At the time of his retirement last June, Shumenov said he needed another operation on the eye, and his doctor said he would risk blindness in the eye if he fought again.
The fight, which will be promoted by Shumenov’s KZ Event Productions, will be part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Astana’s being named the capital of Kazakhstan.
“I’m happy to fight for my belt,” Shumenov said. “My eye is 100 percent and I’m excited about fighting again. I’m honored to fight on the 20th anniversary celebration of Astana as my country’s capital. After this fight, I want interim cruiserweight champion, Arsen Goulamirian.”
The 30-year-old Altunkaya (30-1, 17 KOs), a native of Turkey fighting out of Germany, suffered his lone loss to former cruiserweight world titlist Krzysztof Glowacki when he was stopped in the fifth round last June. Altunkaya won his only fight since, a six-round decision over 3-7-1 opponent Niko Lohmann.
“I’m thankful for the chance to fight Beibut Shumenov,” Altunkaya said. “He’s a great fighter but I will give him my best. We have optimum time to be fully prepared for the fight. It’s going to be a good fight. I’m coming to Kazakhstan to win.”
In 2010, Shumenov won a split decision against Gabriel Campillo in Las Vegas to win a light heavyweight world title. It was Shumenov’s 10th professional fight, and it set the record for fewest fights needed to win a 175-pound world title. He defended the belt five times before losing by split decision to Bernard Hopkins in a 2014 title unification fight in Washington, D.C.