HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Devin Haney is ready to have his say in a red-hot lightweight division.
The unbeaten titlist from Las Vegas puts his belt on the line for the second time as he faces Yuriorkis Gamboa this Saturday, live from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Both boxers made weight for their main event, which streams live on DAZN (Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET). Haney (24-0, 15KOs) came in at 135 pounds, trim and fit for his first fight in exactly 52 weeks.
Gamboa (30-3, 18KOs)—a 2004 Olympic Gold medalist for Cuba and former featherweight titlist now fighting out of nearby Miami—also hit the scale right at the 135-pound limit. The bout is his first since a valiant-in-defeat 12th round stoppage loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis last December in Atlanta, Georgia.
Haney last fought in a 12-round win over unbeaten Alfredo Santiago last November in Los Angeles. The feat came shortly after he was upgraded from interim to full lightweight titlist, but left him with an injured shoulder which required surgery. The recovery process coupled with the pandemic left him out of the ring for nearly a full year, though returning at a time when the division is bursting with budding superstar talent.
Similarly, Gamboa has also spent his downtime recovering from surgery. The 38-year old Cuba suffered an Achilles tear early in his eventual stoppage loss to Davis.
In the evening’s chief support, 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Filip Hrgoviç (11-0, 9KOs) of Zagreb, Croatia takes on Detroit’s Rydell Booker (26-3, 13KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight contest.
Hrgoviç—who now trains out of Miami—weighed 242.6 pounds, more than five pounds lighter than when he weighed 247 ¾ pounds for his 2nd round knockout of Alexandre Kartozia just six weeks ago in Struer, Denmark.
Booker checked in at 248 pounds, slightly down from a near-career heaviest 248 ¼ pounds in a 10-round defeat to Kubrat Pulev last November in Fresno, California.
China’s two-time Olympian and current heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (21-0, 16KOs) ends a 51-week inactive stretch as he takes on Toledo’s Devin Vargas (22-6, 9KOs) in a scheduled 10-round affair.
Zhilei—a 6’6” southpaw from Zhoukou, China who now lives in New Jersey and trains out of Las Vegas—checked in at 259.6 pounds, more than 18 pounds lighter than when he weighed a career-heaviest 278 pounds for a 10-round win over Andriy Rudenko in his previous fight last November.
Vargas weighed 233 pounds for his first fight since an upset 8th round disqualification win over Victor Bisbal this past January in Verona, New York.
Reshat Mati (7-0, 5KOs, Staten Island), 146 lbs. vs. Marcos Mojica (17-5-2, 13KOs, Managua), 146.4 lbs.—8 rds., welterweight
Raymond Ford (6-0, 2KOs, Camden), 125.8 lbs. vs. Rafael Reyes (18-10, 14KOs, Clovis, New Mexico), 123 lbs.—6 rds., featherweight
Arthur Biyarslanov (6-0, 5KOs, Toronto), 141 lbs. vs. Juan Jose Martinez (28-9, 20KOs, Mexico City), 141.8 lbs.—6 rds, junior welterweight
Darren Cunningham (11-0, 6KOs, St. Louis), 122.6 lbs. vs. Juan Gabriel Medina (11-4, 10KOs, La Romana, D.R.), 121.4 lbs.—8 rds., junior featherweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox