Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Friday 13th at the Hulu Theater, Madison Square Garden sees rising lightweight contender Devin Haney take on Zaur Abdullaev for the WBC interim lightweight championship.
This fight will be a step towards a major world title opportunity for both fighters if they can get the job done. Vasyliy Lomachenko, who is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at the moment, currently holds the WBC world title in the division in which Haney and Abdullaev are competing in, and has previously stated he'd be keen to take on the winner of this fight.
Haney (22-0, 14 KO) is one of boxing's most talented prospects, with excellent defense, speed, reflexes and punching power. The 20-year-old is coming off a seventh round one-punch KO of Antonio Moran in May 2019. His victories over Mason Menard and former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos are two of his most notable wins so far.
Abdullaev (11-0 7 KO) is a year removed from his biggest win yet, a unanimous decision win over Hank Lundy, who has fought some of the best lightweights and junior welterweights in recent years. Unquestionably his fight against Haney will be his biggest test yet.
The co-main event will feature former world title challenger Michael Hunter (17-1 12 KO) against the undefeated Sergey Kuzmin (15-0 11 KOs) in a heavyweight bout.
Hunter is former amateur standout and made it on to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 games. He wound up losing in the Olympic Games to Artur Beterbiev, who is currently a titleholder at light-heavyweight.
As a professional, Hunter has had a decent run so far. His only loss came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk in a cruiserweight title fight. Usyk went on to eventually unify the entire cruiserweight championship in 2018. Since the loss to Usyk, Hunter has gone unbeaten in five fights.
Kuzmin himself was also an amateur standout, in his home country of Russia. However, Kuzmin has not faced the kind of competition that Hunter has, amateur or professional. Hunter should be the toughest challenge to date for Kuzmin.
Also on the card, is possibly the biggest fight in women’s boxing this year so far. WBO featherweight champion Heather Hardy (22-0 4 KO) will defend her championship against former 7-division champion Amanda Serrano (36-1-1 26 KO).
Hardy won the WBO belt by outpointing Shelly Vincent in October of last year. The upcoming fight against Serrano will be her first defense of the championship.
Though she is a world champion in boxing, Hardy has occasionally stepped away from boxing in recent years to dabble in the world of mixed martial arts. Back in June, Hardy lost an MMA fight via TKO under the Bellator promotional banner. Serrano will be her first assignment since deciding to return to the squared circle.
Since losing her first fight by way of decision to Frida Wallberg in 2012, Amanda Serrano has embarked on a 22-fight win streak over the course of seven years. Despite being seven years younger than Hardy, who is 37, Serrano is the more experienced fighter. Serrano’s experience and youth may be too much to overcome for Hardy.