In a clash of undefeated prospects Lightweight contender Devin Haney scored a fourth round stoppage of previously undefeated Zaur Abdullaev on Friday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. Haney controlled the fight from the opening bell working behind a consistent jab, using angles, mixing in combinations, and countering effectively when Abdullaev missed with his punches. The one-sided action was halted at the end of the fourth round when Abdullaev’s corner asked for the fight to be stopped citing a possible broken cheekbone suffered by their fighter. Devin Haney advances to 23-0, with 16 Knockouts. Zaur Abdullaev falls to 11-1, with 7 Knockouts.
Also on this card, in a battle for the Women’s WBO Featherweight world championship seven-division world champion Amanda Serrano scored a hard fought ten round unanimous decision over previously undefeated champion Heather Hardy to regain the WBO Featherweight world championship. Serrano put pressure on Hardy from the outset and unleashed a barrage of punches that appeared as though it might be enough to get a stoppage in the first round with Hardy seemingly trapped on the ropes. Hardy however, showed her mettle and skill ad she as able to slightly change the tempo of the combat in the middle rounds. Although the champion was very “Game “ from start to finish, Serrano’s harder punches and consistent pressure were the story of the fight as she went on to win earn the decision. Official scores were: 98-92, and 99-91(On two scorecards) in favor of Serrano. Amanda Serrano advances to 37-1-1, with 27 Knockouts. Heather Hardy falls to 22-1, with 4 Knockouts.
In a Heavyweight bout top contender Michael Hunter scored a dominant twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Sergey Kuzmin.Hunter used an athletic style to consistently beat Kuzmin to the punch. Hunter dropped Kuzmin with a solid left hook to the head in round five and continued to out work Kuzmin down the stretch to secure a convincing decision victory. Official scores were: 117-110 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Hunter. Michael Hunter advances to 18-1, with 12 Knockouts. Sergey Kuzmin falls to 15-1, with 11 Knockouts.
Undefeated Jr. Featherweight Raymond Ford outpointed Rafael Castillo over four rounds. Official scores were: 40-36 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Ford. Raymond Ford advances to 4-0, with 1 Knockout. Rafael Castillo falls to 1-4, with 0 Knockouts.
Also in the Jr. Featherweight division Darren Cunningham remained undefeated by scoring a six round unanimous decision over Jonathan Ramos. Darren Cunningham advances to 10-0, with 5 Knockouts. Jonathan Ramos falls to 18-25-5, with 6 Knockouts.
Jr. Welterweight Wesley Ferrer scored an eight round unanimous decision over Larry Fryers. Official scores were: 80-72, and 79-73 on two scorecards in favor of Ferrer.Wesley Ferrer advances to 14-1-1, with 7 Knockouts. Larry Fryers falls to 11-2, with 4 Knockouts.
Heavyweight Mahammadrasul Majidov successfully made his professional debut with a fourth round stoppage of Ed Fountain. Mahammadrasul Majidov advances to 1-0, with 1 Knockout. Ed Fountain falls to 12-7, 5 Knockouts.
In the Jr. Featherweight division undefeated 2016 Olympic Bantamweight Bronze medalist Murodjon Akhmadaliev scored an impressive fourth round stoppage over Wilner Soro. Akhmadaliev, who was supposed to face WBA Jr. Featherweight world champion Daniel Roman, but had a change in opponent due to an injury to the world champion, took his time early and did not give Soto, who took the fight on six days notice any openings due to his foot work. As the fight progressed Akhmadaliev picked up his offensive output and Soto simply had no answer to combat Akhmadaliev’s arsenal. A barrage of punches that had Soto against the ropes taking punishment brought an end to the fight at 1:56 of round four. Murodjon Akhmadaliev advances to 7-0, with 6 Knockouts. Wilner Soto falls to 22-7, with 12 Knockouts.
In the Welterweight division unbeaten prospect Daniyar Yeleussinov scored a first round knockout over previously undefeated Reshard Hicks. A jab to the body followed by a flush left hand that landed behind the ear of Hicks set of a barrage of punches that forced Hicks to take a knee. Moments later another left hand from Yeleussinov put Hicks down for a second time and out at 2:38 of round one. Daniyar Yeleussinov advances to 8-0, with 4 Knockouts. Reshard Hicks falls to 12-1-1, with 6 Knockouts.
In the Lightweight division Christian Bermudez successfully made his professional debut by scoring a second round knockout over Jonathan Conde. A flush left hook to the jaw sent Conde down in round two. The bout was immediately stopped by Referee Sparkle Lee at 1:56 of the round. Christian Bermudez advances to 1-0, with 1 Knockout. Jonathan Conde falls to 1-3, with 1 Knockout.
This card featured a little of everything. Excitement, Knockouts, and world-class Boxing. A few things to take away from this card are not only the continued growth and long overdue recognition for the sport of Women’s Boxing in two world champions putting it all on the line and more importantly elevating their sport by displaying class and respect for each other both before and after their fight, but also several prospects on various levels all continuing to progress in their respective careers.
For Michael Hunter, his victory over Sergey Kuzmin will continue to move him up the rankings in the hopes of securing another opportunity at a world championship after previously challenging for a world championship in the Cruiserweight division. Devin Haney meanwhile earned interim championship status in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Lightweight ratings, which makes him the number one contender for current unified WBO/WBA/WBC world champion Vasyl Lomachenko. Although he will likely have to wait a period of time before getting his shot at whomever the WBC champion is, if he continues putting forth the types of impressive performances he has in his recent fights including against Zaur Abdullaev, it may only be a matter of time before those of us who cover the sport and fans of Boxing are including Devin Haney in the discussion of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
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