IBA opens its fully-packed sports calendar for 2024 in Serpukhov, Russia with a new edition of the IBA Champions’ Night. Two boxers of the main event, Russian Vsevolod Shumkov and Cuban Saidel Horta will challenge each other for the Eliminator World Champion title in the 57kg category on 3 February.
‘It is my first-ever main event at the IBA Champions’ Night and it’s against a Cuban boxer, which motivates me a lot,’ Shumkov stated. ‘This is a fundamental bout, as I lost to another Cuban, Lazaro Alvarez, at the Champions’ Night previously, and this challenge means a rematch to me. Horta is quite a dangerous rival, he actively moves, throws a lot of punches and combinations, but I will win because of my tempo and excellent physical condition. I feel no sense of danger with him, I have worked hard, and I am confident in what will be the outcome.’
Shumkov added that he did his homework on battling the Cuban style of boxing after the loss to Alvarez, and that he “shouldn’t have any issues” in this fight. ‘I am looking forward to trying my skills in a 10-round fight. I am ready to go through all of them, however, always keep a knockout in mind, although it’s not easy to make. I think 10 rounds will be tough for Horta, and I’ll start my winning campaign from the very first round,’ the boxer said.
Horta has already arrived in Moscow where he made his last preparations for the Serpukhov event.
‘I’m mentally prepared to go the distance. I know that it will be hard for both of us physically. This is my first 10 round fight, but I’ll be out there to follow my corner’s instructions and execute the best strategy to come out victorious. I know my rival is number one on his national team and a World Championships bronze medallist. I have respect for his career, but I am here to compete and give my best to win. On Saturday, I expect a great fight with two top boxing schools that will collide,’ Horta said.
He named IBA Champions’ Night event ‘a spectacular idea for boxers and fans. People can watch the best boxers from all over the world. I am proud and grateful to be part of this event. I want to win all IBA titles, and this eliminator is a step towards that. You can expect that I will always give my best; this fight is for the people of Cuba,’ the Cuban, who’s nicknamed as Golden Southpaw, stated.
Speaking about the prize money at stake, he added, ‘I am going to spend it wisely, my family and church friends are important to me. I am also going to invest some in boxing equipment to maintain my boxing level high.’
Six more fights are scheduled for the Serpukhov Champions’ Night. The IBA Professional European Champion title in the 71kg category will be at stake in an 8-round fight between Russian Pavel Sosulin and Fatih Keles from Türkiye. In 2023, Sosulin reached the last 16 in Tashkent and won a World Boxing Tour event in Morocco, while his professional record improved to 8-0. Keles secured a title of European champion in 2011 on his home soil, and after turning professional in 2016, he scored 12 victories and 1 loss.
Serpukhov-born boxer representing Serbia, Artem Ageev and Aliaksei Alferau from Belarus will contest another IBA European title, in the 80kg category. Ageev, who holds the EUBC European champion title from 2022, will challenge IBA World Championships silver medallist Alferau, who has recently made his debut in pro boxing with one victory in the books, in an 8-round bout. In an 8-round fight in +92kg, Russian boxer Artem Suslenkov faces Bilal Laggoune from Belgium.
Three more 6-round rating fights are scheduled to happen in Serpukhov on 3 February. Alexander Dorofeev from Russia challenges Austine Nnamdi from Nigeria in +92kg, Pavel Fedorov representing Serbia faces off against Davit Azizyan from Armenia in the 63.5kg category, and Ruslan Belousov from Russia goes in the ring against Zholdas Zhengissov from Kazakhstan in the 57kg category.