One To Watch: Raymond ‘Savage’ Ford
Devin Haney topped the latest Matchroom USA/DAZN bill, and he defended his WBC Lightweight title with an unanimous decision points win over faded Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa in Florida.
Haney has been chasing a meeting with Teofimo Lopez, who holds all other available belts, but didn’t get the highlight reel knockout or statement performance needed to really stoke the fires for that match.
It was all Haney in the main in this one, and, after a feeling out opening round, ‘The Dream’ alternated his attacks from head to body of Gamboa, while also working well on the counter. Gamboa showed more urgency in the third, but the Cuban’s punches were having little effect on the champion, who was happy to take shots in order to dish out his own.
When Gamboa would launch an attack, Haney would easily be able to return the contest to a distance he was happy with, and he was dominating the fight as a result. Haney cranked the pressure up after halfway, with Gamboa taking a fair bit of punishment in the seventh, and taking a big left hand from Haney that stunned him in round eight.
Haney was simply picking his opponent apart, and it was becoming survival mode for the challenger, who had a point taken off in the penultimate round for excessive holding. Haney was intent on closing the show, and the final round saw him land a big right that seriously buzzed Gamboa momentarily, and a couple of clean right hands forced him to hold on with little left in the tank, but he bravely heard the final bell.
The result was academic, and two scores of 120-107, and a third at 118-109 confirmed the one sidedness, with 21 year old Haney’s focus quickly turning to his Lightweight rival Lopez after moving to 25-0.
“I thought I put in a world class performance” said Haney to DAZN post fight. “He was a crafty veteran, he was doing a lot of holding and trying to survive”.
“Fighting someone like Gamboa was a stepping stone, but I’m here for the big fights. I want the biggest fights to happen to bring the best out of me”.
🗣️ @Realdevinhaney: “@TeofimoLopez is the main fight I want to make happen.” pic.twitter.com/9qQXLlATYw
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) November 8, 2020
“Teofimo Lopez is the one with the rest of the belts, so that’s the main fight that I want to make happen”.
Filip Hrgovic did pretty much as he pleased, before stepping on the gas and stopping former sparring partner Rydell Booker in five rounds up at Heavyweight. Hrgovic targeted Booker’s body in the opener, before dropping the American in the second round after a series of chopping right hands. A well timed big right hand behind the ear was the shot that did the damage.
Booker survived the count, but it was one way traffic, with Hrgovic able to pierce the guard against a static target time and again. There was a cause to pull Booker out after four rounds, but he gamely took a last stand in the fifth before the Croatian unloaded several unanswered shots to force the referee to thankfully step in. Hrgovic called out a number of heavyweight stars including Michael Hunter, Dubois, Povetkin, Whyte and Chisora in his post fight interview stating he’s willing to fight any one of them next.
▪️ Povetkin@Filip_Hrgovic wants all the heavyweights. 💬 pic.twitter.com/PNO8E6mKdQ
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) November 8, 2020
Also at Heavyweight, Zhilei ‘Big Bang’ Zhang remained undefeated, improving to 22-0 with a fourth round knockout of the brave Devin Vargas. The 37 year old from China connected with a right-left combination with under a minute gone of the fourth round that drove Vargas back towards the ropes, where he crumpled onto his front. He gamely tried to regain his senses to beat the count, but his legs betrayed him, and the fight was over.
Nice ko zhang zhilei vs devin vargas boxing heavyweights new pic.twitter.com/HBAvIycjk9
— Fightgame (@futurefights360) November 8, 2020
It took Arthur Biyarslanov just 59 seconds to move to 7-0 with a first round win at Welterweight against Juan Jose Martinez. Canada based Russian Biyarslanov attacked the body of Martinez, and switched to the head to land an overhand right high on Martinez’s head. It was clear the Mexican didn’t want to continue, and the contest was called off.
Raymond Ford scored a third round stoppage win against Rafael Reyes at Featherweight, while at Welterweight, Reshat Mati took less than two rounds to dispatch Marcos Mojica. The only other fight on the card to go the distance was at Super Bantamweight, where Darren Cunningham took a points win over six against Juan Gabriel Medina.
Watch back our interview with Raymond Ford earlier this week below, where he spoke about the influence Shakur Stevenson has had on his career & read up more on the rising star’s journey to date here.