A Swiss Albanian, Beqiri was born to Kosovar Albanian parents in Vitina, SFR Yugoslavia (now Kosovo) on May 3, 1986 and, at the age of five, he emigrated with his family to Basel, Switzerland where he soon began training in karate and taekwondo. He took up kickboxing and Muay Thai when he was sixteen. He was naturalized as a Swiss citizen. His three brothers, Hysni, Ilir and Sabedin are also professional kickboxers.
Shemsi Beqiri began his career at Super Pro Basel and moved to Superpro Sportcenter Basel in 2002, fighting as a lightweight. Two years after beginning fighting, he won his first title by defeating Jetmir Sula via decision to win the World Professional Kickboxing Council (WPKC) Swiss -63.5 kg/140 lb Muay Thai Championship in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland on May 8, 2004. He then travelled to Novara, Italy just three weeks later to challenge Alessandro Conca for the WPKC European -63.5 kg/140 lb International Kickboxing title, and beat the local fighter on points after seven, two-minute rounds to become the European champion.
Beqiri ended 2004 by becoming the Swiss champion for the second time, knocking out Dardan Zeqiri in round three to take the Schweizerische Kick-Boxing Verbände (SKBV) Swiss -63.5 kg/140 lb Kickboxing belt on November 13, 2004. After accumulating an undefeated record fighting on the European kickboxing and Muay Thai circuit, his first loss came at the hands of Giorgio Petrosyan in an Muay Thai Association (MTA) European -65 kg/143 lb title fight in Gorizia, Italy on February 26, 2005.
On February 18, 2006, Beqiri entered the S-1 Muay Thai tournament held in Basel. He KO'd Zyber Rudaj in the quarter-finals and then beat Steve Neumann on points in the semis. However, he sustained an injury in the match with Neumann and was unable to compete in the final. He faced another set-back when he dropped a decision to Mirko Vorkapic in Nova Gorica, Slovenia on June 10, 2006 but he bounced back with a lengthy win streak that culminated in winning the World Fighters Council (WFC) European Welterweight (-67 kg/147 lb) K-1 rules title from Andrej Bruhl in Basel on December 15, 2007.
He made the first defence of his WFC European title on August 2, 2008 when he bested Hubert Romankiewitz over three rounds in Basel.
Having become two-time European champion, Beqiri was given the chance to fight for a world title on November 15, 2008, taking on Vahidin Tufekčić in Nova Gorica with the WKA World Welterweight (-67 kg/147 lb) Kickboxing Championship on the line. He proved that he belonged on the world stage by sending the Bosnian to the canvas in the first round before stopping him with a low kick in the second to take the belt.
Shortly thereafter, Beqiri began his transition to middleweight, long seen as kickboxing's deepest weight class. He faced the toughest test of his career on March 14, 2009 by taking on Şahin Yakut at Oktagon presents: It's Showtime 2009 in Milan, Italy. He was easily out-gunned by the Turkish veteran, receiving a standing eight count from the referee just seconds in the bout before being finished off with a right hook shortly after. He was able to return to the winner's column in impressive fashion by taking decision wins over Bartosz Kościelniak, Youssef Ouahnini and Ramil Karmacaev, respectively, in one night to win the -72.5 kg/160 lb tournament at Human's Fight Night III in Hamburg, Germany on September 13, 2009. Beqiri then attempted to make it two tournament wins on the trot by entering the TK2 World MAX 2009 in Aix-en-Provence, France on October 10, 2009 but was beaten on points by Jeremy Sportouch at the quarter-final stage. Before the year was done, he added two more world titles to his mantlepiece, knocking out familiar foe Jimmy Eimers in four rounds in Ulm, Germany on November 1, 2009 to take the World Full Contact Association (WFCA) World Junior Middleweight (-69.8 kg/154 lb) Thaiboxing belt followed by a points win over Mike's Gym fighter Giga Chikadze on December 19, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland to be crowned the WFC World Middleweight (-72.5 kg/160 lb) Muay Thai Champion.
2010 was a busy and successful year for Beqiri as he competed in four one-night tournaments and went 10-2 over the course of the twelve months. He also began training under Dutchman Dennis Krauweel at the SuperPro Sportcenter Basel around this time after switching for the Golden Dragon Gym. He kicked the year off on January 30, 2010 at the Klash I -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament in Zutphen, Netherlands where he knocked out Adem Bozkurt at the opening stage. In the semi-finals, he went up against Arian Vatnikaj and dropped him in round one en route to a decisive points victory. Then, in the tournament final, Beqiri edged out Aalviar Lima over three rounds to take the crown. In his next outing, Beqiri captured the WKA World Middleweight (-72.5 kg/159 lb) Kickboxing title with a decision win over Diogo Calado in Basel on March 27, 2010. He followed this up with a third-round TKO of Dardan Morina in the quarter-finals of the Superfighters 8 Man Tournament in Frankfurt, Germany on April 17, 2010. Despite securing his place in the semis, he was unable to compete due to a broken nose and was replaced by Davit Kiria.
On September 5, 2010, Beqiri returned to defend his crown at Human's Fight Night IV in Hamburg. Having taken a unanimous decision victory over Rosario Presti in the quarter-finals, he then exited the competition when he lost by the same margin to local fighter Dima Weimer in what was the fight of the tournament. In his fourth and final tournament run of the year, Beqiri finished as runner-up at the Klash II -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament in Sindelfingen, Germany on November 27, 2010. He was victorious on points over Turkish duo Erkan Varol and Tevfik Suçu to reach the final where he lost a close split decision to Faldir Chahbari.
After rising up the rankings in 2010, Beqiri began his 2011 campaign by taking a big step up in class to face Yoshihiro Sato, who had finished as runner-up in the K-1 World MAX 2010 Tournament just two months before, at the Krush First Generation King Tournaments ~Round.2~ in Tokyo, Japan on January 9, 2011. Sato took a controversial split decision (30-28, 29-28, 28-29), but many considered the fight a moral victory for the 24-year-old Beqiri who was more than twenty places below Sato in the world rankings and fighting outside Europe for the first time. He didn't return to the ring until September 10, 2011 when he participated in the four-man, SuperPro Fight Night II -70 kg/154 lb tournament in Basel. After his original semi-finals opponent Farid Villaume pulled out, Beqiri instead took on Philippe Salmon and dropped the Frenchman in round one before taking the judges verdict to advance to the final where he came up against Rachid Belani. He had no problems with the aging Moroccan and won by decision to take the tournament prize money of €20,000.
Beqiri became a five-time world champion on March 3, 2012 when he outpointed Hirono Yuu over five rounds for the WFCA World Junior Middleweight (-69.8 kg/154 lb) K-1 title at SuperPro Fight Night III in Basel.
Although contracts with top promotions such as K-1 and It's Showtime seemed to have eluded Beqiri, he was given the chance to fight at the highest level when signed with the newly founded Glory organization in April 2012 and was immediately entered into the 2012 Lightweight Slam tournament, made up of sixteen of the world's best 70 kg/154 lb kickfighters. He was given a rematch with Yoshihiro Sato at the tournament's opening round, held in Stockholm, Sweden at Glory 1: Stockholm - 2012 Lightweight Slam First 16 on May 26, 2012, and took his revenge by beating the Japanese fighter by split decision in an action-packed fight. This win helped Beqiri move up into the top ten in the world rankings for the first time in his career, coming in at #10.
Staying active between Glory tournament bouts, he defeated Steeve Valente via decision at SuperPro Fight Night IV on September 22, 2012 in Basel to win the SuperPro Fight Night -70 kg/154 lb Championship.
He was drawn against Davit Kiria in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Glory tournament at Glory 3: Rome - 2012 Lightweight Slam Final 8 on November 3, 2012 in Rome, Italy but exited the tournament early when he lost a split decision after a competitive fight. Despite coming back from the Glory tournament empty-handed, Beqiri proved himself to be amongst the middleweight elite and moved up to #9 in the world rankings in December 2012.
Beqiri lost to Robin van Roosmalen by unanimous decision in a back-and-forth fight at Glory 10: Los Angeles in Ontario, California, United States on September 28, 2013.
He was scheduled to face Ky Hollenbeck in the tournament reserve match at Glory 12: New York - Lightweight World Championship Tournament in New York City, New York, US on November 23, 2013 but withdrew for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Warren Stevelmans.
Shemsi Beqiri and Andy Souwer were set to fight at SuperPro Fight Night VI in Basel on January 25, 2014 but Souwer withdrew due to a bout of appendicitis and was replaced by Foad Sadeghi. Beqiri defeated Sadeghi on points.
He was also expected to fight Murthel Groenhart on the Glory 14: Zagreb undercard in Zagreb, Croatia on March 8, 2014 withdrew due to injuries sustained in a brawl and was replaced by Teo Mikelić.
In February 2013, Beqiri was convicted for assault by a Basel court. In an incident in January 2012, he had hit a man in the face and went on to kick him when he went to the ground, after Beqiri's brother had first attacked the victim, also a kickboxer, with pepper spray. Beqiri's conviction made headlines in Swiss media in the context of a scandal involving the canton of Zurich employing him as personal trainer for a juvenile offender convicted for serious bodily harm. After Beqiri's conviction became public knowledge, his expulsion from the Swiss Muay Thai Federation was announced. Beqiri contradicted this, saying that he had planned leave the federation regardless and that the notice of expulsion was motivated by the federation taking sides against him in his ongoing rivalry with his former trainer, Portuguese kickboxer Paulo Balicha.
On February 24, 2014, Beqiri's gym was raided by Balicha and about twenty masked and partly armed associates. Beqiri claimed that Balicha attacked him with brass knuckles and that he struck him down in self-defense. In the resulting brawl, partly fought with baseball bats, six people were injured, including Beqiri who sustained fractures in his hand and nose. Balicha was arrested and after forensic analysis at his Diamond Gym, a number of other attackers were also identified and taken into custody. Beqiri's injuries sustained in the attack prevented him from fighting Murthel Groenhart at Glory 14: Zagreb.Human's Fight Night
Human's Fight Night III -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament Championship
Klash I -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament Championship
Klash II -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament Runner-up
2006 S-1 -72.5 kg/160 lb Tournament Runner-up
Schweizerische Kick-Boxing Verbände
SKBV Swiss -63.5 kg/140 lb Kickboxing Championship (One time)
SuperPro Fight Night
SuperPro Fight Night II -70 kg/154 lb Tournament Championship
SuperPro Fight Night -70 kg/154 lb Championship (One time)
World Fighters Council
WFC European Welterweight (-67 kg/147 lb) K-1 Championship (One time)
One Successful title defence
WFC World Middleweight (-72.5 kg/160 lb) Muay Thai Championship (One time)
World Full Contact Association
WFCA World Junior Middleweight (-69.8 kg/154 lb) Thaiboxing Championship (One time)
WFCA World Junior Middleweight (-69.8 kg/154 lb) K-1 Championship (One time)
World Kickboxing Association
WKA World Welterweight (-67 kg/147 lb) Kickboxing Championship (One time)
WKA World Middleweight (-72.5 kg/159.8 lb) Kickboxing Championship (One time)
World Professional Kickboxing Council
WPKC Swiss -63.5 kg/140 lb Muay Thai Championship (One time)
WPKC European -63.5 kg/140 lb Kickboxing Championship (One time)