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Haney vs Linares: Martin J. Ward looking forward to Vegas debut, eliminator with Azinga Fuzile

A shot at the IBF 130 lb title is on the line Saturday.

FlyDSA Arena Boxing Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Saturday’s DAZN card doesn’t just have the main event between Devin Haney and Jorge Linares, as there is also — among other fights — an IBF junior lightweight eliminator between Martin J. Ward and Azinga Fuzile scheduled for the show.

Ward (24-1-2, 11 KO) and Fuzile (14-1, 8 KO) come into the bout with different momentum. Ward has won five straight since his loss to James Tennyson in 2018, while Fuzile dropped a TKO to Shavkat Rakhimov in his last outing in 2019.

For Ward, it will also be his first fight in the U.S., and in Las Vegas especially, he wants to entertain the way Prince Naseem Hamed used to do.

“I was a big Naz fan and stayed up to watch him fight Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas and in all his fights all over the States,” said Ward. “It has been a childhood dream of mine to fight in Vegas on the big stage, and here it is, and I am not going to let this slip through my fingers, I’ve trained too hard and put too much of my life into this to let it go.”

How to Watch Haney vs Linares

Date: Saturday, May 29 | Start Time: 8:00 pm ET
Location: Michelob Ultra Arena - Las Vegas, NV
Streaming: DAZN
Online Coverage:

Fuzile’s southpaw stance doesn’t give Ward any worries, as he notes

“He’s a slick southpaw, has some impressive wins on the record and only has one loss, and he was winning that fight until he got chinned. He looks a good fighter, and hopefully our styles will gel, and we’ll put on a good fight for the fans,” Ward said.

“He’s elusive, sharp, counters well, and has good defense with the shoulder roll, but I am going to nullify all that and take him out of his comfort zone and do a job on him. I’ll be too smart, and I think I’ll be too big and strong for the guy. I’m so close to where I want to be.”

The IBF title at 130 is currently vacant, with Joseph Diaz Jr forfeiting the belt on the scales in February before his draw with Shavkat Rakhimov. The sanctioning body has ordered Rakhimov and Kenichi Ogawa to meet for the vacant belt.

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