The undercard for the Septmber 13th undercard at Madison Square Garden will feature WBA/IBF World 122-pound champion Daniel Roman defending against Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Seven-division champion Amanda Serrano returns to featherweight to challenge WBO champion Heather Hardy in an all-Brooklyn affair, and at heavyweight, there's a great 50-50 clash on the card as Michael Hunter of the United States challenges Russia's Sergey Kuzmin. The main event will be Devin Haney vs. Zaur Abdullaev.
Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs) unified his WBA crown with the IBF strap of Irishman TJ Doheny in a fight of the year contender at home in Los Angeles in April, a fifth world title win on the bounce a fourth inside 14 months for the 29 year old.
Roman's fifth defense of his WBA crown pits him against dangerous Uzbek talent Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5 KOs) - the highly decorated amateur has looked fearsome in ending five of his six pro outings to date inside the distance, with the 25 year old's last win coming on the same LA bill as Roman's dust-up with Doheny. \
"Anyone that knows me understands that I'm a real fighter," said Roman. "I'll fight anyone they put in front of me. Akhmadaliev is hungry, but so am I. It wasn't that long ago  when I challenged for the WBA title so we're not going to give it up. I'm here to fight and defend the WBA belt once more. I have two belts [WBA and IBF], but I want more. My goal is to get all of them so by no means am I overlooking Akhmadaliev. He has that amateur pedigree, can punch with power and likes to come forward. The second you underestimate someone, that's when bad things happen. I'll be ready for whatever he brings.
"As a unified champion, I understand that I have a target on my back. That's why I've been in the gym, staying sharp like I always do. There's no time to relax and look back at what I've done because my work isn't finished."
"Danny is among the most committed and disciplined World champions out there," said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing Promotions. "He relishes challenges and at this point in his career, he only wants the toughest and biggest fights. Akhmadaliev is a young and dangerous opponent, but Danny has all the tools to continue his reign as the best talent in the division. We're confident that he'll deliver another excellent performance and retain his WBA title for the fifth time."
"I am very glad that Daniel Roman took this fight," said Akhmadaliev. "I know that we are both warriors and this will be a real war! Don't miss this fight!"
"We have been waiting for this fight for some time," said Vadim Kornilov from World of Boxing. "I believe with the will, character, and power of both of these guys, this fight will be a fight of the year candidate."
Serrano (36-1-1 27 KOs) held the WBO featherweight strap in 2016 before vacating it then her sister Cindy picked it up later that year. Hardy (22-0 4 KOs) was next in line to win the vacant title in October in a rematch against Shelley Vincent in the Hulu Theater.
Hardy put boxing on hold to return to MMA in June with an outing at Bellator 222 at Madison Square Garden but returns to boxing to go head-to-head with her fellow Brooklynite. Hardy said, "we found out in February that as a super-champion Amanda could call out any champion in any weight division and she would be the next defense -- and she chose me. I didn't get this far in the boxing game to not know how it works, they're hyping up a big fight between her and Katie Taylor and this is the second of Amanda's three-fight deal. It will be my first time competing as an underdog even as the current world champion but I'm excited as hell. Everyone knows I have the balls for it. I grew up with a tough mamma, trust me - nobody scares me."
"I'm very excited to be back in the ring and excited to be fighting Heather Hardy," said Serrano. "Heather is 22-0 for a reason, she always finds a way to win. We've sparred in the past and I've never had an easy day with her. So many of the other champions vacated their belts to avoid fighting me but Heather is a true world champion who will not give up her belt. We know each other well and I'm honored to fight her for her world title. It's nothing personal, just business for two girls from Brooklyn in the ring."
"On Friday, September 13th, seven-division world champion Amanda 'The Real Deal' Serrano will attempt to wrest the WBO featherweight title from undefeated champion Heather 'The Heat' Hardy in what promises to be an explosive matchup," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Neither Hardy nor Serrano have ever been in a bad fight, both Brooklynites have passionate fan bases and are tremendous ambassadors for women's boxing. This is a must-win fight for both boxers and will steal the show."
Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) KO'd Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo in November and stopped Fabio Maldonado in Maryland in May. The 31 year old is rapidly rising in the rankings and can take a huge leap towards world title action with a win but faces a crunch challenge in the form of Kuzmin (15-0 11 KOs).
Kuzmin won at Wembley Stadium in London in September against David Price and first saw off LaRon Mitchell and then Joey Dawejko in successful Stateside outings. "I'm excited to be fighting Sergey," said Hunter. "I know that this is not going to be an easy fight, but I am definitely up for the challenge and I want to show people that I am the best in the division."
"I have worked very hard for this opportunity," said Kuzmin. "I am here to win this fight and go after the World title. It doesn't matter to me whether this fight is in the USA or in Russia, I am very confident in my victory. I know my opponent very well, he's a good boxer, but only one of us is going to be victorious."