Devin Haney (pictured) can take a giant leap towards world title glory when he faces fellow unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev in a final eliminator for the WBC lightweight title on Friday September 13th at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK. [The WBC title is currently vacant with WBO/WBA champion Vasiliy Lomachenko fighting Luke Campbell to fill the vacancy].
In May, Haney (22-0 14 KOs) destroyed Antonio Moran with a KO of the year contender in the seventh round of their clash in Maryland. The 20 year-old fights in the Big Apple for the first time in his career.
The Russian Abdullaev (11-0 7 KOs) stopped Humberto Martinez in Ekaterinburg, Russia last time out and now fights outside his homeland for the first time in his career.
The WBC crown will be in the hands of either Lomachenko or Campbell when the clash at The O2 in London on August 31, with Haney and Abdullaev keenly observing that clash from their training camps become locking horns on September 13.
"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. 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. Abdullaev likes to apply pressure and I expect nothing less on September 13th. 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.
"Abdullaev doesn't have a big name, but... I'm not ducking him or anyone else that stands in my way. I'm blessed to have tremendous support from DAZN and Eddie Hearn. With this partnership I have an opportunity to fight the best in the world. I encourage everyone in NYC to buy their tickets or get the DAZN App and watch my growth into the next superstar in boxing. This fight is going to be lit!"
"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.
"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."