Blue chip lightweight prospect Devin Haney rose to the occasion in what was the toughest test of his career, defeating veteran Mason Menard via ninth-round TKO in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation Friday on SHOWTIME from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) entered the fight as a highly regarded prospect who had never been tested. He faced his first test on Friday in what was a scheduled 10-round bout against ShoBox veteran Menard (33-3, 24 KOs).
Haney took control of the fight from the opening bell and never relinquished it. The 19-year-old picked off Menard with a dominating jab from the outside and used lateral movement to avoid getting hit. Menard was unable to land any meaningful punches and he looked sluggish compared to Haney’s consistent movement and athleticism.
After nine rounds of domination, Menard’s corner had seen enough and stopped the fight following the round. Haney passed the toughest test of his career with flying colors, never once letting Menard take control of the fight.
“The plan was to go in there and work off the jab,” Haney said. “If the knockout came, I would take it but I just went in there, put on a boxing clinic and showed the world that I could go the full 10 rounds.
“I feel like I put on a performance. I was relaxed and did my job. I’m definitely the next superstar. There’s only bigger and better things from here on out. I work very hard. I went in and put on a good performance against a guy that people said could knock me out or hurt me.”
Following the fight, a defeated Menard was respectful of Haney’s performance.
“He never hurt me. He was catching me with the best shots he could and never hurt me. But the kid can definitely fight,” Menard admitted.
In the 10-round co-feature, super bantamweight prospect Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer (17-1-1, 9 KOs) scored his third ShoBox knockout against Baltimore native Glenn Dezurn (9-1-2, 6 KOs).
The fight was explosive from the outset, with both fighters pushing the pace. Greer took advantage of Dezurn’s high guard to work the body, while Dezurn pushed forward to engage Greer on the inside. Greer began to dominate in the third round, when a big right hand hurt Dezurn with two minutes remaining.
“I knew he would come hard so I put I the work in the gym to make sure I was ready,” said Greer. “I’m just happy everything paid off.”
Greer hurt Dezurn again in the fifth round with a straight left, and eventually tied him up against the ropes with a succession of blows that almost had Dezurn’s trainer Barry Hunter stopping the fight. After the round, Hunter warned Dezurn that he would stop the fight if Dezurn didn’t fight back.
Despite almost going down in the fifth, Dezurn survived for three more rounds. The injured and exhausted Dezurn wasn’t able to put anything behind his punches and hit the canvas in the eighth round for the first time in his career before referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight with 1:47 remaining.
“I got caught with a few good shots, but I recovered quickly and I was still in the fight,” Dezurn said. “I have a lot of heart, which is a gift and a curse for me.”
A confident Greer was pleased with his performance after the fight.
“I wasn’t surprised I could knock him out,” Greer said. “I knew I could break his will.”
In an eight-round featured attraction, light heavyweight prospect Charles Foster (16-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win against Alvin Varmall Jr. (15-0-2, 12 KOs), scored 77-75, 78-74, 79-73.
Foster dominated the fight from the outset, controlling the scrappy Varmall, who became the 174th fighter to suffer his first loss on ShoBox. Varmall made a valiant attempt to get inside in the early rounds, but a more disciplined Foster held him at bay, with Vermall stumbling and getting tied up inside.
“My experience was the difference,” Foster said. “He was loading up on one punches and I was sticking to my game plan – sticking behind the jab, working the body.”
Foster peppered Varmall with his lead left hand, tagging his opponent enough to break him down and eventually tire him out. Varmall landed a couple of statement shots but wasn’t able to hurt Foster and by the later rounds, his punches lacked power.
“When he would come on the inside he couldn’t hurt me,” Foster said. “I was the one controlling the entire fight.”
In the opening bout of the four-fight telecast, super bantamweight Arnold Khegai kept his unblemished record intact with a unanimous decision over veteran Adam Lopez, scored 77-74, 77-74, 78-73.
Making his U.S. debut, the controlled Khegai (12-0-1, 8 KOs) pressed the action from the start. Khegai worked the jab and stayed mobile, capitalizing on a wobbly Lopez (16-2-3, 8 KOs) with a perfectly timed counter punch with 30 seconds remaining in the second round. Khegai stayed busy in the early rounds with consistent counter punches, but earned a point deduction for a hit to the back of Lopez’s head with seconds remaining in the sixth round.
“That was my first fight in the U.S. and I wanted to show something special,” Khegai said. “Everyone was waiting for the knockout, but I wanted to show my boxing skills. I could have gone for the KO in the middle of the fight, but I wanted to prove that I could box.”
Despite a slight dip in productivity in the later rounds, the Ukrainian stayed efficient, landing 31 body shots compared to just 15 from Lopez.
Lopez, caught off guard by Khegai’s fighting style, was disappointed by his performance in his record-setting seventh ShoBox appearance.
“I was expecting him to be a dirty fighter, but it kind of threw me off my game. The referee kept telling me ‘don’t retaliate, don’t retaliate.’
“I couldn’t really land my hard shots. I landed a couple,” Lopez said. “I stunned him in the fourth or fifth with a right uppercut. He got rocked a little bit, but he’s a good fighter. He got out of it.”
The event was promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions in association with Devin Haney Promotions and Hard Hitting Promotions.
Undefeated lightweight prospect Devin Haney and veteran Mason Menard made weight on Thursday for their 10-round main event matchup tomorrow/Friday on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT) from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA.
Haney (19-0, 12 KOs), a seven-time junior amateur champion, is a highly-touted prospect from Las Vegas taking a major step-up in opposition against Menard (33-2, 24 KOs), whose only loss in nearly a decade came to current WBO Lightweight Champion Ray Beltran. Menard, who will appear on ShoBox for the third time on Friday, debuted on the series in 2016 in dramatic fashion when he brutally knocked out the previously unbeaten Eudy Bernardo.
Super bantamweight prospects Josh “Don’t Blink” Greer (16-1-1, 8 KOs) and Glenn Dezurn (9-1-1, 6 KOs) nearly came to blows at Thursday’s weigh-in before they meet in the 10-round co-feature. Greer returns to ShoBox for the third time after scoring knockouts in his previous two appearances. The once-beaten Dezurn, who fights out of Baltimore, also returns to the series for the third time. Light heavyweight prospects Alvin Varmall Jr. (15-0-1, 12 KOs) and Charles Foster (15-0, 8 KOs) face their toughest opponents to date in an eight-round featured attraction.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated super bantamweight Arnold Khegai (11-0-1, 8 KOs) meets veteran Adam Lopez (16-2-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-round bout, which will be Lopez’s record-setting seventh ShoBox appearance.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions, Devin Haney Promotions & Hard Hitting Promotions, are priced at $125 for VIP, $75 for ringside and $50 for general admission and are available at the 2300 Arena Box office or online at www.HardHittingPromotions.com
Lightweights – 10 Rounds
Devin Haney: 134 ¾ Pounds
Mason Menard: 134 ¼ Pounds
Super Bantamweights – 10 Rounds
Joshua Greer: 122 ¾ Pounds
Glenn Dezurn: 122 ¼ Pounds
Light Heavyweights – Eight Rounds
Alvin Varmall Jr.: 172 ¾ Pounds
Charles Foster: 174 ½ Pounds
Super Bantamweights – Eight Rounds
Arnold Khegai.: 120 ¼ Pounds
Adam Lopez: 121 ¾ Pounds
“I feel like this is my breakout fight. The world hasn’t seen me yet. They’ve seen me on social but they haven’t seen me on national television. This is my breakout. I’ve had people who have believed in me from a pretty young age and it’s about to pay off
“A lot of top prospects have been turning me down and Mason Menard was the guy that stepped up and took the fight. He’s the only guy that wanted to fight me.
“He has a lot of experience on paper. He’s been under the lights before. But my experience comes from in the gym. I sparred (Floyd) Mayweather for (Conor) McGregor. I sparred (Jessie) Vargas for (Adrien) Broner. That’s where my experience comes and we’ll see tomorrow who has more experience. He’s fought some pretty good guys but nothing like me.
“When I spar these top level guys they always say one more round, one more round, because they want to get me.
“Winning isn’t good enough. It’s about going in there and looking good. I want to go in there and show my full arsenal. I want to show I’m a complete fighter and not leave any doubts.
“I’m just going to go in there and be me. We’ll see how the fight plays out. I know he’s watched a lot of film on me, but I have a lot of different styles. I’ve learned from a lot of different people and come Friday night we’re going to show it.
“I need to take care of business tomorrow and hopefully I get a title eliminator next. The belts are tied up at 135 and the way my weight cutting s going I could make 130. So if given the right opportunity I could go for a title at 130.”
“There’s a lot of hype on Devin. We have a lot of respect for him but we also think there’s a lot of hype. He has good skill, good counterpuncher and is fast. I just have to make him fight at my pace. I have to make it a fight and hurt him.
“My only real loss was to a current world champion. He’s stepping into a whole different world and that’s going to be the difference. We want to see Devin in deep waters because we know he hasn’t been there before.
“A win here will catapult me back into the top contender ratings. We have a lot of confidence, the shoulder has healed well. It’s been smooth sailing in camp and we’re ready to go.
“Getting out of Louisiana has made a huge difference. Training in Dallas and Los Angeles I’ve gotten the best work of my career. For the (Ray) Beltran fight I had one sparring partner. I’ve had plenty of sparring partners for this fight.”
“This opportunity against Dezurn, I couldn’t turn it down. So when they offered it I said, ‘let’s go.’
“He’s an average fighter. There’s nothing that impresses me. He’s in great physical shape and he’s going to be there for three or four rounds, but after that it will be a problem. As soon as I see him fade I’m going to step up my game and take him out.
“A win here could set me up for great things. I’d love to get in the new World Boxing Super Series.
“When I first started boxing I was facing tough competition. I had to find myself and now I found myself. The better the fighter the better I’m going to look.
“It’s easier for me to focus training outside of Chicago. That’s why we made the trainer switch. I can focus on boxing and sharpening my game. I’m in California sparring so I’ve sparred with some of the best guys. I’ve sparred with Olympians. I’m ready for any and everything.”
“He brings a pillow to the ring and we’re going to give him a blanket. If I’m afraid of a pillow I’m in the wrong business. But that’s what he’s supposed to do to make this exciting.
“I just need to win. He talks a lot so I hope he can back it up. I’m like an old guy. I bring my lunch and go to work. My whole focus is to win.
“I want to be a nightmare for him. At the end of the day, I want him to think twice about bringing that pillow to the ring again.
“My job is to have good hands and be victorious. He’s young and he’s flamboyant and he’s going to make me look good when I beat him. When he talks it just gives me more motivation.”
“This weight has been perfect for me. I’m taking my career very seriously now. I’ve been sparring with some good guys, getting good work in the gym. I’m ready for the move down to 175 and maybe 168 next.
“I’ve watched a little bit of tape on him but not too much. I’m worrying about myself, I’m not worrying about him. I’ve fought taller guys than him so I’m not too concerned with that.
“He’s definitely a step up, but it’s a step up for both of us. It’s his birthday and I owe him a present. We’re going to continue to work hard and shock the world.”
“It’s a brawler vs boxer type fight. He’s going to be the shortest guy that I’ve fought. We know he’s going to try to come in and fight and we’re going to be ready.
“He looks good on paper, he’s undefeated. So this is a good test for us. Tomorrow we’ll see who is the better guy.”
“I’m ready to make my statement here in the U.S. I’ve fought a lot of fighters with good records and now I’m here to show the fans in America. My vision was to always fight in America and now it’s here.
“Ukrainian fighters are making a lot of moves in the U.S. and now it’s my time. This is where boxing lives. The future is here.
“Lopez is a good boxer. We’ll see what he’s made of and we’ll see what I’m made of.”
“I can get back to where I was with a win. I’ve been A-side, B-side, I’ve been in it all. I’m a veteran. And I know a win will get me back to where I need to be.
“This fight is very important. I’m no stranger to fighting undefeated guys. This is the fight that will gauge where I’m at right now. I feel like I’m close to getting where I need to be.
“I’ve seen all of his fights before. He’s a tough guy, so we need to beat him with a variety of punches.”