HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Devin Haney prepares to make a splash in a vibrant lightweight division, as his appearance comes as part of an active stretch for all of the top players at 135 pounds.
The next step in the career of the 21-year old reigning titlist from Las Vegas comes Saturday evening as he faces Miami’s Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3, 18KOs), a 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and former featherweight titlist. Their bout tops a DAZN livestream from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Arthur ‘The Chechen Wolf’ Biyarslanov (8-0, 6KOs) made the most of his unexpected airtime, however brief was the occasion. The unbeaten junior welterweight prospect made quick work of Mexico City’s Juan Jose Martinez in racking up a 1st round knockout.
The lone boxer of the 2016 Canada Olympic team to compete in Rio, Biyarslanov has enjoyed an explosive start to his pro career. The 25-year old southpaw carried that over into Saturday’s swing bout with Martinez (28-10, 20KOs), who was outgunned from the opening bell. An overhand shot from Biyarslanov sent Martinez down in a heap, with referee Telis Assimenios bringing a halt to the contest at just 0:59 of round one.
Reshat ‘The Albanian Bear’ Mati picks up his second straight 2nd round knockout during the pandemic. The latest came in a one-sided drubbing of Managua’s Marcos Mojica (17-6-2, 13KOs), scoring two knockdowns in forcing the stoppage at 1:40 of round two.
Mati went on the attack from the opening bell, flooring Mojica midway through the opening round with a crisp right hand upstairs. Mojica beat the count but was already worse for the wear and not expected to last much longer. Mati didn’t let him off the hook, closing the show with a right uppercut to send him to the canvas midway through round two. Mojica made it to his feet but was clearly in no condition to continue as referee Samuel Burgos waved off the contest.
Raymond ‘Savage’ Ford looked sensational in a one-sided 3rd round stoppage win over New Mexico’s Rafael Reyes. The Camden-bred southpaw scored two knockdowns, the latter followed by a volley of punches which prompted referee Frank Gentile to intervene at 1:26 of round three.
Ford (7-0, 3KOs) delivered a message early in the fight, sending Reyes (18-11, 14KOs) to the canvas with a straight left hand late in round one. The unbeaten featherweight prospect remained poised, not rushing to close the show but rather putting his full skill set to good use. The same weapon produced the bout’s second knockdown, with Reyes hitting the deck early in round three. Reyes beat the count but was swarmed by a subsequent attack from Reyes before the fight was mercifully halted.
Darren Cunningham kept his unblemished record intact with a six-round decision win over Dominican Republic’s Juan Gabriel Medina. Scores were 60-54 across the board in favor of Cunningham (12-0, 6KOs), a St. Louis-bred junior featherweight prospect who now trains out of North Las Vegas under the tutelage of former lightweight titlist Mickey Bey.
Action was one direction in favor of Cunningham in the evening’s curtain raiser. The unbeaten 23-year old patiently stalked the mobile Medina (11-5, 10KOs), who used every inch of the ring in his best effort to go rounds. Cunningham dialed up the pressure in round three, connecting with a body shot and forcing Medina to the ropes. The undefeated boxer picked up the pace in rounds five and six, mixing a right uppercut into his attack. Medina switched between orthodox and southpaw without any real purpose other than to avoid Cunningham’s punishing body attack.
Cunningham picks up his second win of 2020, having returned from the pandemic with a knockout victory in July. Medina has now suffered all five career losses in his past six fights, having also fallen to Joshua Greer and McWilliams Arroyo along the way.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox