The WBC interim title had been put on the line for two top contenders in the WBC lightweight rankings, but one contender showed that they were way ahead of the other.
Devin Haney (23-0) had a fairly easy night of work against Zaur Abdullaev (11-1) at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden on Friday as he threw multiple flush combinations, moved in and out of range, and didn’t take much damage in his 4th round stoppage victory to win the WBC interim lightweight title and become the mandatory contender for the world title, currently held by Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1). Not many expected the 21 year old prodigy to lose, but the way that he executed his attack on his opponent opened a few eyes in the arena.
Haney showed many similar signs of his power and speed that he showed in his last fight against Antonio Moran, but also his footwork as he moved well in close range with Abdullaev and at a distance where he utilized his pinpoint jab. So many of Haney’s power shots connected upstairs that Abdullaev’s cheekbone was fractured, causing the stoppage in the 4th round. It registers as the 15th knockout that Haney has scored in his young career, but there are bigger aspirations for the fighter that will turn 21 in November: he wants Lomachenko.
“I think I’m ready for the fight. ‘Nomachenko,’ come on, man, let’s get it going,” Haney stated after the win. “If I’m so green, why not just get me out of the way?”
“Lomachenko is a great fighter…that’s why I want to fight him. The other opponents were obviously too green for him so if I’m too green, let me go on the list with all the other green fighters that he fought.”
Haney is definitely confident that he would take down Lomachenko and be a world champion. With him being the interim champion, that fight seems to be in the future, but for now, he will prepare to defend the interim title in a card on November 9th in Los Angeles.
Cover photo by Ed Mulholland