Devin Haney captured the WBC interim lightweight title and took another step toward a title shot with a dominant fourth-round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Zaur Abdullaev on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
With the win, Haney (23-0, 16 KOs) positions himself to eventually face unified lightweight titleholder Vasiliy Lomachenko by becoming one of his mandatory challengers.
Haney called Lomachenko out earlier this week and continued to taunt him after Friday night's victory.
"It's No-machenko because he doesn't want to fight me," said Haney, who already has three wins in 2019. "Lomachenko, let's get this fight going. Abdullaev was number two, and I destroyed him. If I'm so easy, No-machenko should fight me and get me out of the way."
Haney exhibited sharp boxing skills and blazing speed from the opening bell. The foundation of his attack was his quick jab, which set the pace and kept Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) at bay, never allowing him to get his own offense going. Haney also pumped out quick right hands and left hooks to the body, all while being an elusive target.
In short, Abdullaev had no answers for Haney's technical precision.
It was a one-sided fight by the fourth round, when a chopping right hand from Haney visibly affected Abdullaev. As Abdullaev went back to his corner, the fight was waved off by referee Charlie Fitch at the advice of his corner.
Ring announcer Michael Buffer said the fight was halted because Abdullaev suffered a ''possible fractured cheek bone.''
"I felt good on my performance," Haney said. "I wasn't nearly done beating him -- I was just warming up. I'm happy with the win."
Despite calling for a clash with Lomachenko -- who likely will fight for the undisputed crown in the first part of 2020 against the winner of a fight between titleholder Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez Jr. -- Haney said he likely will close out the year by fighting on the undercard of the boxing match between YouTube stars Logan Paul and KS1 on Nov. 9.
"I've been talking to my promoter about Nov. 9," Haney said. "I think it's good for the sport of boxing, brings new fans, and gets me back in the ring."
Serrano routs Hardy, wins WBO title
Amanda Serrano (37-1-1, 27 KOs) decisively beat Heather Hardy (22-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round unanimous decision to become the WBO featherweight titleholder.
The judges scored the bout 98-91, 98-91 and 98-92 for Serrano, who won her 23rd consecutive fight.
Serrano, 30, jumped out quickly in this fight, overwhelming Hardy in the first round with a barrage of punches that came from a southpaw stance. This was a common theme throughout the fight. Serrano was the quicker fighter, and she consistently beat Hardy to the punch.
"I felt it," Serrano said. "Heather is a warrior. She came and stood for 10 rounds. My corner told me to box, catch her coming in, be smart and technical."
Hardy, 37, was able to gather herself and had some moments in the middle rounds. But overall, the action was controlled by Serrano, who outlanded Hardy 222-131.
Next for Serrano could be a showdown with lightweight titleholder Katie Taylor.
"Katie Taylor wants 140, so we will see what she wants to do," Serrano said. "No matter what weight, I'll win."
Hunter tops Kuzmin by convincing decision
Michael Hunter methodically defeated the plodding Sergey Kuzmin, scoring a knockdown in the fifth round on his way to a wide decision victory.
All three judges scored the bout 117-110 for Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs).
Hunter was simply a bit too athletic and fluid for Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs), who would could never amount a consistent attack.
"I wanted to stop the boy, but he's a tough opponent. I didn't get him," Hunter said. "I am pleased with my performance, but I saw some things I need to sharpen up on."
In 2017, Hunter challenged Oleksandr Usyk for the cruiserweight title. Now, like his former foe, he campaigns as a heavyweight and is looking to move up the ladder in the division.
After Friday night's victory, he made it clear whom he's targeting next.
"I want [Alexander] Povetkin," he said, referring to the former heavyweight titleholder. "If you see me, Povetkin, I'm coming for you."