Devin Haney can take a huge step towards becoming a World champion on Friday night – but the Lightweight sensation revealed on the debut episode of season two of Matchroom Boxing’s ‘Born Fighter’ show, he turned his back on football to dedicate his life to his dream of becoming a hall of fame fighter.
Haney (22-0 14 KOs) takes on Zaur Abdullaev (11-0 7 KOs) for the Interim WBC World Lightweight title at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK, with the winner hunting down a clash with newly-crowned champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
The Las Vegas star has risen rapidly in the paid ranks since his pro debut at 17 years old in Mexico in December 2015 having dedicated his life to the sport, but in the first show of the new series of ‘Born Fighter’, Haney reveals he had to make a choice between boxing and football as a prodigious talent on the field – but as he fights in the biggest fight of his career just after the first weekend of the 100th NFL season, ‘The Dream’ doesn’t regret his decision to devote his life to the sweet science.
“I was a Running back, but I was the type of player that was the Running back, the Quarterback, the Wide receiver, the Safety, Middle linebacker – I played all positions, I was a one-man army!” said Haney. “I think that's why I love boxing so much, because everything is on me – win and it's because of me, lose it's because of me.
“I was good at football too, really good, and there came a point when I chose boxing over football. One day, I just quit football and I never went back to the field! I never went to practice, I just told myself to dedicate my life to boxing and I don't regret it for one second. I knew that if I dedicated myself early that it would pay off in the long run. I never really worried about ‘being a kid’ when I was growing up, I just wanted to fight.
“I always felt that I knew how to fight. I loved to fight. It was false confidence really as I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew what I was, and confidence can go a long way. Professional fighting? I don't know when I thought about that. I remember my first amateur fight and first tournament, my first national, my first trip overseas but I don't remember thinking 'I want to be a pro' but I was young and I dedicated myself to it at an early age.
“Once I started boxing I wasn't getting into trouble at school anymore and everything fell into place and I think that boxing helped me, but i don't think that I was ever going to go down a dark road like a lot of people say, I think that I would have done something positive with my life whatever happened.”