Devin Haney is officially set to face off with fellow unbeaten star Zaur Abdullaev, in what will be a final eliminator for the WBC World Lightweight title, when the two collide on Friday September 13th. The Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York, will host the fight, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Haney (22-0 14 KOs) made his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN in May, brutally knocking out Antonio Moran with a KO of the year contender in the seventh round of their contest in Maryland. Haney is ranked #2 by the WBC and is hoping to face off for that title against the champion, who is presently Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is set to face contender Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena on August 31, and the Haney vs. Abdullaev winner will surely be in line for that shot.
Abdullaev (11-0 7 KOs) is no slouch, as he is ranked #3 with the WBC and grabbed the Silver Lightweight strap in just his ninth pro outing in April 2018. The dangerous Russian also scored his 11th pro win and seventh inside the distance this past February, stopping Humberto Martinez in Ekaterinburg.
Haney’s name has been ringing bells around Las Vegas for years, and he is finally breaking through to the bigger stage.
“It always feels good when I get the official date,” said Haney. “I stay in the gym because I’m a dog and I love to fight. I want the world to see me rise to my competition. The better they are the better I am. I’m fighting an undefeated fighter at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.”
Haney made his bones as an amateur in Las Vegas but understands the importance of venturing out with his career.
“New York fans are some of the most loyal fans in sports and I’m looking forward to really putting on a show for them,” stated Haney. “Abdullaev likes to apply pressure and I expect nothing less on September 13. I’ve seen him fight and he’s a hungry fighter, there’s no doubt he is my toughest opponent to date. This fight is one step away from a World title fight so we both have a lot on the line. “
For Abdullaev, he is relishing the chance to face a fighter who nobody apparently wanted to fight.
“I’m delighted that the fight is happening,” said Abdullaev. “I was panicking when I saw some posts from Haney on social media that nobody wants to fight him at 135lbs, and he might have to move up in weight. I kept biting my nails and really wanted to get engaged but been told to stay patient. Allah the gracious has delivered this fight and now its reality.”
Could an upset be brewing?
“I am a bit disappointed that the fight won’t be at Haney’s Las Vegas back yard as it would have been great to dethrone him in front of his home crowed, but New York is a great boxing city. I’m not silly and I do understand that I’m coming as an underdog but on September 13, I’m coming to crash the hype against all odds,” stated Abdullaev.