On Friday, DAZN plays host to a solid night of boxing headlined by Devin Haney (22-0; 14 KO) taking on Zaur Abdullaev (11-0; 7 KO). Haney vs. Abdullaev is live from the Theater at MSG this Friday, September 13, airing live on DAZN with a fight time of 7:00 p.m. ET.
- One to watch – There’s an exciting crop of young, rising talents in the sport right now, and Haney stands right at the top of that list. The 20 year old is undefeated and making moves. If you’re not yet watching him, you need to fix that.
- Step up fights – Haney has had two recent fights where he has faced a higher level of opponent: Mason Menard and Juan Carlos Burgos. He handled both with ease, plus the two solid opponents since. The best prospects are the ones who outperform when taking those steps, and that’s absolutely the case here.
- What next? – Haney is now ranked as the #3 contender in the division, so a step up form here brings him to some serious names like Rchard Commey and Jose Pedraza. Or, of course, Lomachenko. Loma is the WBC champ, and this is an eliminator fight, so winner here, in theory, gets Loma next. But boxing politics don’t make that a guarantee, obviously.
- Welcome to the international stage – The 24 year old Russian fighter has until now, competed solely in his home country. He fights in the US for the first time here, and on DAZN, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to that spotlight.
- Level of opponent? – So far it hasn’t been terrible, but not great either. Best is Hank Lundy, who is a name and a decent hand, but is also currently on a 4-5 run. Since then, he’s defeated Humberto Martinez who is 33-9-2 himself, but whose recent opponents have records like 2-11-2 and 3-20-1. Big step up here, no doubt.
- Solid skills – Footage out there shows Abdullaev to be a solid fighter, technically, with a good use of reach and also nice inside work, particularly to the body. He also has good stopping power and has shown an ability to put hurt opponents away.
What else is on the card?
- The other big one here is Heather Hardy vs. Amanda Serrano – look for a separate preview of that fight tomorrow.
Abdullaev is a wild card here. It’s entirely possible he just gets wrecked, with Haney running him over. But I also like what I’ve seen of him, and think he can handle himself well enough to force Haney into a real boxing match. I still think Haney eventually overwhelms him, but that the Russian makes him work for it.
Prediction: Devin Haney, KO R9