By Mike Smith: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says Devin Haney will be fighting Zaur Abdullaev on September 14 in a final WBC lightweight title eliminator. Hearn plans on announcing the Haney vs. Abdullaev fight this week for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of the fight will be mandatory for the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell victor.
Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) has many boxing fans excited about his career following his seventh round knockout victory over Antonio Moran on May 25. The 20-year-old Haney was given the headliner fight after Oleksandr Usyk suffered a bicep injury while training, and had to pull out of his main event fight against heavyweight Carlos Takam.
Abdullaev and Haney were previously scheduled to fight each other on Friday, September 13, but with Saul Canelo Alvarez moving off the September 14 date, Hearn decided to move them into that spot. There’s a possibility former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin could take that date, which would mean that the Haney-Abdullaev fight would be pushed to the undercard.
Hearn to announce Haney vs. Abdullaev fight this week
“This guy is a future superstar,” said Hearn about Haney. “On September 14 [Haney will be fighting next], and it looks like it’ll be announced early next week. We want to bring him to Vegas. Why not the MGM? Let’s blow it up. This kid is a superstar. He’s going to be a multi-weight world champion. He hasn’t got long at 135. We want to try and win a world title fast. He wants [Vasiliy] Lomachenko now. I’m trying to slow him down, building Devin. ‘Let me have Teofimo [Lopez]. Let me have Lomachenko. I want them now.’
I believe this young man is going to dominate divisions for years, and years to come. I’m so excited that he’s one the team with Matchroom and DAZN, because ever since he won [against Antonio Moran], everybody is talking about him. He’s a joy to work with. His work ethic is unquestionable. I cannot wait for him to dominate division after division after division,” said Hearn.
Lomachenko might be a little too good for Haney at this point, but he matches up well with Campbell and Abdullaev. Those are both winnable fights for Haney. It’s unlikely Hearn will let Haney fight Campbell straightaway if the British fighter loses to Lomachenko. Hearn will want to rebuild Campbell before letting him fight Haney, and that could take a year or more.
It’s possible that the World Boxing Council could give Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) a Franchise tag if he beats Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) next month in their fight on August 31 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. If that happens, then the Haney vs. Abdullaev winner would be facing the next highest rated contender, if the WBC doesn’t elevate the winner of their fight the new lightweight champion within their organization.
Haney wants Lomachenko, Teofimo & Commey
“I feel like timing is everything, and right now is my time,” said Haney. “If I’m so easy, why won’t these guys fight me? If I was n easy opponent, why not beat me and get it over with? I feel like right now is my time, and I feel like I’m ready for them top guys.
135 is not easy for me to make at all. It takes a lot of sacrifice that I’m willing to do for a world title. If not, I’m looking to go to 140. I’m looking at these top guys in the division, Lomachenko, Richard Commey, and Teofimo Lopez. Down the line, I’m going to have some huge fights, but right now I’m looking for a world title,” said Haney.
Haney will probably need to wait until he moves up to 140 before can fight Teofimo. Top Rank plans on matching Teofimo against IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey next, and then against Lomachenko, if he’s successful.