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Bernard Hopkins Headlines Armory Fight Card

Legendary Boxer Seeks to Make History in D.C.

Stacy M. Brown | 3/7/2014, 9:24 a.m. | Updated on 3/19/2014, 3 p.m.
IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Bernard Hopkins (left) and WBA and IBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Beibut Shumenov pose on March 12, 2014, at the BB King Blues Club in New York City during the press conference for their April 19 world title unification bout at the D.C. Armory in Washington, which will be televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing. (Rich Kane/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions)

The District has never been a stranger to world championship boxing.

Hall of Fame boxer Bob Foster began his career in 1961 at the old Capitol Arena in Northwest by knocking out opponent Duke Williams in the second round.

District native Darryl Tyson, who went onto battle greats such as Roger Mayweather, Zab Judah and Oscar De La Hoya, made his pro debut at the D.C. Armory in 1982, defeating Wayne Anderson in a lightweight bout.

Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes also fought in the District and so did the area’s most famous boxer, renowned Palmer Park, Md., native Sugar Ray Leonard, the first fighter to win world titles in five different weight classes.

“The fans in D.C. have been enthusiastic and supportive of the sport whenever we’ve brought an event here, and I know they will love the [upcoming] championship doubleheader,” said Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, the company that promises to bring more history to the District on Saturday, April 19 when Bernard Hopkins squares off against Beibut Shumenov at the D.C. Armory in Southeast.

Hopkins holds the International Boxing Federation light heavyweight title while Shumenov comes in as the World Boxing Association champion.

The event also will be broadcast live on Showtime television.

At 49, Hopkins attempts to become the oldest fighter in history to unify a world title.

Having defended a world middleweight title a record 20 times, before losing the belt in 2005, Hopkins is considered one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time.

He’s ranked No. 3 on Ring Magazine’s list of the best middleweights of the last 50 years.

In March 2013 the Philadelphia native captured the International Boxing Federation light heavyweight championship at age 48, becoming the oldest fighter in history to win a recognized world title.

“It’s no secret that one of my biggest goals has been to unify the titles and getting to do that in a city where I have a lot of history is the best-case scenario,” said Hopkins, who last fought in the District in 1999 when he successfully defended his middleweight title with a knockout victory over Robert Allen.

“I’m coming back to break another record by unifying the title and I’m looking to get my first knockout since I fought De La Hoya in 2004,” said Hopkins, who holds a 54-6-2 record with 32 knockouts.

A native of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, Shumenov, 30, arrives with a 14-1 record and nine knockouts. He won the International Boxing Association light heavyweight title in just his eighth professional fight in 2009.

Shumenov later added the World Boxing Association title by defeating Gabriel Campilo.

“I am very excited that the fight is going to happen against one of the greatest fighters ever,” Shumenov said. “I am going to do everything possible and impossible to get the victory.”

Either way the fight goes, District officials said they are thrilled to host the event.

“We’re very happy to have this world title fight here in Washington, D.C.,” said Scottie Irving the chair of the D.C. Boxing Commission in Southwest. Hopkins visited the District in January before deciding on the D.C. Armory as the place where he’d attempt to make history.