Lundy Aims For Lightweight Title In Russia
Boxing's preeminent throwback fighter just added another
5,000 miles to his weathered travel log and now hopes to add
an elusive world title to his resume.
Philadelphia's "Hammerin'" Hank Lundy (29-6-1, 14 KOs)
returns to the ring Friday night in Russia to face
undefeated WBC Silver Lightweight World Champion Zaur
Abdullaev (9-0, 6 KOs) in a 12-round bout as part of a
stacked fight card at the Traktor Sport Palace in
Chelyabinsk, less than 1,000 miles east of Moscow.
The event is promoted by RCC Boxing Promotions, owned and
operated for two decades by German Titov. Originally named
Titov Boxing Promotions, the promotion merged with the
Russian Copper Company, a state-of-the-art copper mining
company in Yekaterinburg, in 2016 to form RCC Boxing, which
helped launch the careers of Russian stars Ruslan
Provodnikov, Dmitry Pirog, and former cruiserweight world
champion Grigory Drozd.
RCC also co-promoted an event in Yekaterinburg with Main
Events in 2016 featuring two-time light heavyweight world
champion Sergey Kovalev, and is now working in conjunction
with CES Boxing, which launched Lundy's career in 2006 and
has helped guide the 34-year-old Philadelphia lightweight to
two regional titles in addition to a shot at the WBO world
super lightweight title in 2016.
"In an era where fighters dodge fights because they don't
want to travel outside of their hometown or they worry about
judges, officials and things they cannot control, Hank Lundy
is what this sport needs," CES Boxing president Jimmy
Burchfield Sr. said.
"There is no one more deserving of this opportunity. The one
thing about 'Hammerin'' Hank is he never quits. He doesn't
listen to the critics. He stays in the gym and remains
focused on winning a world title and he won't rest until
he's the No. 1 fighter in the lightweight division, and we
sure as hell won't rest until we help him accomplish that
goal. We're fully confident we're leaving Russia with the
title and we're excited about what lies ahead."
This is Lundy's second trip to Europe, preceded by his 2013
showdown with former 140-pound world-title holder Viktor
Postol in the Ukraine. The well-traveled Lundy has fought
everywhere from Memphis to Montreal, including fights in
Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Cleveland and Los
Angeles, earning the reputation as boxing's most feared road
Chelyabinsk, Russia is merely another postcard to add to the
collection as Lundy aims to bring a world championship back
to Philadelphia, a city rich in boxing tradition with the
likes of Bernard Hopkins, Joe Frazier and Sonny Liston, all
of whom won multiple world titles during Hall of Fame
The landscape in Philadelphia has changed in recent years
with Hopkins' retirement, ushering in a new cast of rising
stars hoping to claim the throne as the city's best. As one
of the area's elder statesmen, Lundy has the opportunity to
add even more clout as a world title-holder with a win over
Abdullaev on Friday, which would no doubt be the biggest of
"This fight for me is very big, and when I win it, it'll put
me back on top in the race for the big, green belt," Lundy
said. "The WBC Silver belt will change me and my family's
lives and I'm more than ready. I will not let this slip
through my hands."
The "big, green belt" Lundy is referring to is, of course,
the WBC World Lightweight Championship, currently held by
undefeated Mikey Garcia. The Silver belt was established by
the WBC in 2010 to replace its interim title, and the WBC
typically matches its interim champions with its world-title
holders, meaning a victory for Lundy on Friday could set the
stage for a future showdown with Garcia, a fight Lundy has
coveted for quite some time.
"Mike, I'm coming for you," Lundy said.
But first, Lundy must solve the 24-year-old Abdullaev,
recognized as one of the top Russian prospects who competed
in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing before making his
official professional boxing debut in 2017. In just his
eighth pro fight, he captured the WBC Youth Lightweight
Title with a knockout win over Ardie Boyose and then added
the Silver lightweight title to his collection two months
later with a win over Deiner Berrio.
Born in Dydymkin, which is south of Chelyabinsk, Abdullaev
comes from a long line of European fighters who've made
quick climbs to the top of their weight class. Ukrainian
Vasyl Lomachenko fought for a world title in just his second
pro fight and won it in his third, albeit with 397 amateur
fights under his belt. Abdullaev amassed an amateur record
of 16-8, beginning at the age of 16, before his first World
Series of Boxing match in 2016 and then turned pro a year
later, making his rapid ascension in the lightweight
division equally remarkable.
None of this fazes Lundy, who boasts a resume unlike most in
pro boxing and has certainly been forced outside of his
comfort zone more so than Abdullaev has in his short career.
Lundy's legendary track record, both at lightweight and
super lightweight, includes bouts against pound-for-pound
king Terence Crawford, Thomas Dulorme, Mauricio Herrera and
Raymundo Beltran, who recently fought for the WBO World
Lundy also ended the career of former world champion David
Diaz in Illinois and knocked off former WBA title-holder
Richar Abril in 2010. He enters Friday's fight fresh off a
three-fight win streak, including a dominant performance
over former WBO world champion DeMarcus Corley in his
hometown in February.
Friday's fight card also features a 10-round bout for the
vacant IBF Youth Super Featherweight Title bout between Mark
Urvanov (13-2, 6 KOs) and Nikita Kuznetsov (9-0-1, 4 KOs),
plus a 10-round cruiserweight showdown between former world
champion Denis Lebedev (30-2, 22 KOs) and former world-title
challenger Hizni Altunkaya (30-2, 17 KOs) of Germany.