Lomachenko looking to be undisputed at 135

Vasiliy Lomachenko, the three-weight world champion and former pound-for-pound king, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this afternoon. Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), who spent several months serving with the Belgorod-Dnestrovsky Territorial Defense Battalion in his native Ukraine, is ready to resume his boxing career and will return to the ring later this year against a to-be-determined opponent.

“I pray every day for Ukraine, for the people…. and stop the war. When I came back to Ukraine, I believe it was the second day of war. Your mind changes because you see a different life. It’s a different life. Nobody knows what happened on this day. It’s very bad. It’s very bad for the world,” Lomachenko said. “I’ve prepared for this moment, and I need this chance. I need this fight… undisputed. Undisputed world champion.”

A former featherweight, junior lightweight and unified lightweight champion, Lomachenko regained his career momentum in 2021 with dominant victories over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.

The 34-year-old will begin training camp at his Southern California residence with an eye on his ultimate goal of ruling the lightweight division. In the eight months since his points win over Commey, 23-year-old prodigy Devin “The Dream” Haney toppled George Kambosos Jr. to become the undisputed king.

Haney’s dream comes true in Australia

To some, Devin “The Dream” Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) was the “email champion” after he was awarded the WBC 135-pound title in 2019 when Vasiliy Lomachencko was elevated to the Franchise champion.

However, following Sunday’s dominant 12-round unanimous decision win over George Kambosos Jr. (20-1, 10 KOs) at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, we can now call Haney the undisputed champion at 135 and the king of the division. Haney became the eighth fighter in history to capture all four major championship titles in the four-belt era and the first to do so at 135 pounds.

The Oakland native used his jab to perfection and controlled the fight throughout. It was an easy night for the 23-year-old Haney, and two judges had it 116-112, while another judge scored the fight 118-110. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 05: Devin Haney (L) and George Kambosos Jnr (R) exchange punches during their World Lightweight Undisputed Championship fight, at Marvel Stadium on June 05, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Coming into this fight, Haney had a lot going against him. First, he was going to Kambosos’ home country of Australia, and finally, it appeared as if Haney’s father/trainer, Bill, would not be able to be in his corner for the fight after he denied entry into the country, but the Australian government allowed him in, and he was there to witness history.

 “This is a dream come true,” Haney said after the win. “I was going through it without my dad being here because I knew it was a big moment for us. We both dreamed of this. Since we started out, we said we wanted to be the best. It would have hurt me to accomplish this without him. I’m so thankful that we were able to accomplish this together. 

“I was comfortable. I was just sticking to the game plan. The game plan was to go there and hit and not get hit, and I did that for the majority of the fight. I took the last round off just because I knew I was comfortably ahead, but I fought a good, smart fight.”

Kambosos has a rematch clause, and he expects to exercise it.

“I landed the right hand a few times,” he said after the loss. “I worked it to the body, but he had a smart game plan. He grabbed and held a lot and did what he had to do to win. That’s what it’s about. You do what you have to do to win, and today they gave him the decision, but I’m sure it will change when we get it on again. Respect to him, and respect to boxing. This is boxing. You fight the best. Win, lose, or draw. This is what it’s all about. F*** protecting records. I’ve always been about fighting the best. I gave him a shot, and we’ll do it again.”

Regarding the rematch, not sure the outcome would be any different. Haney is just the better fighter. However, if you’re Kambosos, the most money you can make and your best chance to become a champion again would be in the rematch, so it would only make sense for him to run it back. 

Photos: Kambosos-Haney Media Workout

The weather was somewhat chilly, but WBC lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney received a surprisingly warm reception from the Australian fans at Thursday’s open workout at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) will meet Australia’s unified lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10 KOs)  Sunday afternoon (Saturday evening U.S. time) for the undisputed title in front of 50,000-plus fans at Marvel Stadium. 

Despite the plethora of Australian and Greek flags — Kambosos is of Greek descent — the local fans showed respect for the 23-year-old American star, who has been in Melbourne for the better part of two weeks. Kambosos entered the ring to raucous cheers, the Australian and Greek flags draped over his shoulders. 

“Born ready,” Kambosos said, as he proceeded to shadow box and soak in the long-awaited homecoming. Kambosos, who hails from Sydney, has not boxed at home since 2017. Since then, he has won fights in America, Malaysia, England and Greece, a Cinderella run that culminated in last November’s stunning upset over Teofimo Lopez.

Photos below:

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Romero wants all the big names at 135, including rematch with Davis

A few days have passed, and Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) has reflected on his fight in which he lost to Gervonta “Tank” Davis (27-0, 25 KOs), in front of a record-setting crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

“I lost to the better man that night, I felt was doing a good job backing him up with my jab,” said Romero when reflecting on the fight. “I was winning the fight and I made a mistake and got caught. I will work hard to get back to the top with the goal to become a champion. Much respect to Tank and I wish him well. “The Rolly Show” must go on.”

The 26-year-old Romero, who many discounted going into this bout, proved that he is one of the top lightweights in the world, and despite being listed as an underdog by the oddsmakers, never appeared to be outclassed by one of the best fighters in the world until the knockout punch landed.

The Las Vegas native has made it clear that he is already back in the gym and wants the very best competition that is available. Whether it is Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, or George Kambosos Jr., Romero is interested in pursuing fights with all the top fighters in the division.

“I’ll be ready to get back in the ring as soon as my name is called,” said Romero in closing. “I know I got what it takes to be a world champion, and sooner than later, I will accomplish that goal. I made a name for myself and now I can get those big fights with all the top fighters in the division. Haney, Garcia, Kambosos, I want to fight them all. At some point, I will want my rematch with Tank, but I know I’ll have to work my back to that position.”

Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing

Haney on Kambosos: ‘There’s nothing he can do in the ring that’s better than me’

Six days before undefeated lightweight champions George Kambosos Jr. and Devin Haney fight for the undisputed crown at Marvel Stadium, they came face-to-face for the first time. For more than five minutes, the two combatants  talked trash. They did not come to blows, but the mental warfare was in full effect.

Fight week kicked off in style with an opening press conference at Culture Kings in Downtown Melbourne.

Unified champion Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) and WBC king Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) are set to do battle in one of the biggest boxing matches in Australian history. The Down Under showdown will be broadcast live in the United States in prime time this Saturday (Sunday local time) on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.

This is some of what Kambosos and Haney had to say during a manic Monday in Melbourne.

George Kambosos Jr.

Photo/Courtesy: Darren Burns

“This is amazing. This is what the sport is about, and I made this happen. I chose the biggest fights possible. I took out Teofimo Lopez. Obviously, this guy… I was prepared to fight Lomachenko. That was done. He couldn’t make it because of the {Ukraine} war. No problem, Devin, wanna step up? And he did, OK, but he was forced into this. He’s not my mandatory.”

“I could’ve fought anyone. I could’ve fought the garbageman outside if I wanted to, but I chose you. You’re not my mandatory. I picked you. You’re here, and everything is a go for Sunday.”

“I became more obsessed. I became champion and realized I loved this sport more than anything in the world. I’m very blessed to be here. I made this happen. If it wasn’t for me, this wouldn’t be happening today here, and bring it on.”

“It’s great to be back home. Five years of hard work. Everyone knows the story. I had to go through every bit of adversity. I had to earn my belts, earned them the hardest way. Not like this guy. He got given a present. I earned mine. I took the best out. It is great to be back home, great to have the support. I know that stadium will be buzzing with my support, but I just love to fight. Me and him in there, in that ring. It’s a great moment for Australian boxing, and I am very excited.”

Devin Haney

“The government would not have put up the money if it wasn’t against me. Me or Loma. And then Loma couldn’t fight, so then you had to pick me.”

“What was the point of even coming if you didn’t bring the belts? Aren’t we fighting for the belts? Didn’t the government put up the money for all the belts and didn’t the media come out because this is an undisputed fight between two champions? Why wouldn’t you bring the belts? Fu*king clown.”

“This means everything. It’s a dream come true of mine since I was a young kid. This is the biggest achievement of boxing. I can’t wait for June 5 to come.”

“There’s nothing he can do in the ring that’s better than me, and I will show it on fight night. I take nothing away from him. I think that he’s a good fighter, but I just think I’m on a whole different level.”

“This fight feels different for me. It’s something that I can really get up for. I just can’t wait.” 

Photos: Devin Haney’s media workout

Devin Haney’s “dream” is less than a month away. The WBC lightweight world champion, Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) is set to battle unified champion George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10 KOs) for the undisputed world title Saturday, June 4, at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

Haney and his trainer/father, Bill, conducted a media workout Thursday at the Top Rank Gym. Haney is making the fifth defense of his world title and attempting to become king of the lightweights at only 23 years of age.

Below are photos(Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images) from Haney’s workout:

Haney: ‘I don’t know how you beat me; I can’t tell you’

Devin Haney will fulfil a dream on Saturday night as he headlines at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, defending his WBC World Lightweight title against interim champion Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz, Jr. on Saturday night, live worldwide on DAZN.

Haney (26-0 15 KOs) puts his title on the line for the fourth time and is in back-to-back fight in his Las Vegas hometown for the first time since stepping through the ropes in Sin City for the fifth and sixth times as a pro in 2016.

‘The Dream’s’ fifth paid night in the ring was in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s clash with Timothy Bradley in April, but now he’s the star attraction at the famed boxing mecca.

Diaz, Jr. (32-1-1 15 KOs) is out to dash Haney’s plans to be the new main attraction of the Las Vegas boxing scene, but while Haney acknowledges that this promises to be the hardest fight of his career to date, he also promises to dazzle under the bright lights.

“This is a dream come true to be living in Las Vegas and headlining the MGM Grand,” said Haney. “I never thought that it would come this fast, but it’s here and now it’s time for me to really perform at this great arena and show that I am here to stay.

“It’s going to be great to be back in front of fans in full force, there might not be anywhere better than the MGM Grand for a big fight, I’m so excited for this. I know what I am up against, and I am ready for it and the fans should be too.

“JoJo is a good fighter, he’s going to come to fight, we know that. He’s going to bring his best, I’m bringing mine. So, the best man will win – and that will be me. You can talk about size and heart, but I just feel that I am a better fighter than him and skills pay the bills.

“When fighters want to fight, it gets done. Sometimes the networks and the politics get in the way, but nine times out of ten, you can make any fighter as the fighters have the power.

“Everybody says ‘I’m gonna bang Devin out’. I’ve been seeing that my whole life. Did I get this far by letting people rough me up or bang me out? Come on. I can do everything, so you can do whatever you want, it’s not going to work. I don’t know how you beat me; I can’t tell you.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Jo Jo Diaz: ‘I feel like I’m at my prime’

Devin “The Dream” Haney (26-0 15 KOs), WBC Lightweight World Champion, and Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr.  (32-1-1, 15 KOs), WBC Interim Lightweight World Champion and mandatory challenger, hosted a press conference today to launch their highly anticipated match on December 4 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, live worldwide on DAZN.

Below is what the fighters had to say:

DEVIN HANEY, WBC LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION

“I’ve been preparing for this fight for a while now, I’m so thankful that the fight finally came, and I just can’t wait to show JoJo Diaz that he can be a dog, but at the end of the day skills pay the bills. If that’s his only approach that he’s going to dog me, come on I’ve been seeing that my whole career, if that’s his Plan A and I’m going to let him dog me, it’s going to be a long night.”

“At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s any real doubt with these guys with me, none of them are in a rush to fight me. JoJo Diaz wasn’t in a rush to fight me, I feel like we had to corner him to make him take the fight, all these other guys it’s the same thing. They know my skills set, how much I bring to the table, if JoJo didn’t take this fight the world would have known what it really was. Come December 4, they’re going to see.”

“I can’t overlook JoJo Diaz, I know he’s going to come to fight, he’s telling us that he’s coming in there to try and dog me out. I don’t want to make it through this press conference without telling him thank you for taking this fight, thank you for stepping up because most of these guys wouldn’t.”

“I just can’t wait. This is going to be a great fight, JoJo Diaz is a dog, he’s proven that, and I do feel like he is in the prime of his career. It won’t take anything away from my victory when I win.”

“I’ve been seeing guys come at me and try to do everything they can to win for ever now. I’ve always been a slick boxer and had skills, I’ve seen it over and over, time and time again. I do feel like his style will be tailor made for me, there’s nothing that he can do to win. He can’t outbox me, I’ll show him he can’t out bang me, I have the size advantage, all the tools to win.”

JOSEPH “JOJO” DIAZ, JR., WBC INTERIM LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION

“This is going to be a tremendous night and an action-packed fight, I know Devin Haney is a really skilled elusive fighter, but I’m a dog. I’m the type of person that has already been in there and dealt with that experience and adversity. I know what it is to kill or be killed.”

“I’m just going to go out there and do what I’ve got to do to become victorious, not matter what it takes. If he wants to try and box, I’m just going to hunt his ass down. If he wants to come and bang, I’m just going to bang it out as well. Whatever he wants to bring to the table I’m going to bring it.”

“I feel like I’m at my prime, I feel like I’ve already took all the steps I needed to take to be at this point in my life and my career. As far as taking fights with Jesús Rojas, Tevin Farmer, Gary Russell Jr., Javier Fortuna, I’ve already fought those top tier contenders.”

“I feel like Devin Haney is a young fighter, a hungry fighter, he has a lot of experience and ego to go out and put on tough challenges. I feel like he doesn’t have the experience I have, and I feel that’s going to be the key factor to my victory come December 4.”

“When I say out dog, it’s not just throwing punches and stuff like that, I’ve got all the skills and resume in the back of my mind and career. I’m a 2021 Olympian, I’ve fought all these tough fighters already, I’m not just going to throw punches to throw them. I’m going to break his ass down.”

“I know that Devin is a very skilled fighter and it’s going to be tough fight, he’s going to bring out the best in me and I’m going to bring out the best in him. At the end of the day, I know what I’m about and that there’s a lot at stake for me. I’ve been through everything already, all the trials and tribulations in my life and career, but now I’ve got my son and my family that brings me that extra motivation to go out there and risk it all in that ring.”

Haney: ‘If Teofimo Lopez wants to do it next, let’s do it for all the belts, the real undisputed’

Devin Haney retained his WBC world lightweight title in a thrilling fight with Jorge Linares at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night(DAZN).

Haney (26-0 15 KOs) used his speed and elusiveness early against the former three-weight World champion and was in control.

However, the 22-year-old Haney was tested by Linares’ power in this fight. Linares delivered a three-punch combination that wobbled Haney right at the bell of the tenth round. Haney staggered back to his corner.

“It was a good shot,” Haney said. “But I wasn’t hurt, sometimes when you get hit by a good shot, you have to be smart, continue the game plan, and I did that and got the win.

“I knew he was going to come here and give it everything. It was a huge opportunity for him; he would be willing to get knocked out to go for the win, take my biggest shots to get this title.”

Haney stayed away from Linares in the final two rounds as the 35-year-old Linares tried to stop him, but Haney survived. 

All three judges gave Haney the nod on the cards 116-112, 116-112, and 115-113.

“I just kept smart, used the jabs, feinted, and landed shots in the 12th round. You are going to get hit with big shots in boxing,” Haney said. “I didn’t get dropped; I didn’t get hurt. You see fighters get dropped and get up from big shots and people praise them; I didn’t get dropped; I stayed on my feet, kept throwing shots, and closed it out.

Haney wants to unify at 135, which means a fight with Teofimo Lopez.

“I want to fight the best,” Haney said. “I stayed focused on Jorge this week; I knew he was a tough competitor, and I got the job done with the game plan. If Teofimo Lopez wants to do it next, let’s do it for all the belts, the real undisputed.”

These are the types of fights you want for Haney. He goes through adversity, fights through it, and gets the victory.

Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Linares: ‘A fight with me is a different level’

Jorge Linares has warned Devin Haney that he is stepping up to a whole new level as he prepares to challenge the WBC World Lightweight champion on Saturday May 29 at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV, live worldwide on DAZN, in association with Golden Boy Promotions.

Former three-weight world king Linares (47-5 29 KOs) is looking to kickstart the latest chapter of his storied career by picking up the WBC belt that he owned in 2014 to 2016 from Haney (25-0 15 KOs).

The 22 year old champion has admitted that the Venezuelan star is the toughest fight of his career and has vowed to prove that he’s the man to beat at 135lbs, but Linares believes that he has the goods to end the rising star’s title reign and return to the summit on Saturday.

“It’s a big fight and a new challenge for me,” said Linares. “I have a lot of respect for Devin. He’s a young guy, a World champion, but on Saturday the respect goes, and I am ready for an amazing fight, and I hope he’s ready too. He knows who he is fighting – a four-time World champion. I have a lot of experience and that’s the most important thing in this fight to win the fight. He doesn’t have that. He has talent, he has youth and hunger, and the belt.

“A fight with me is a different level. I can show so many styles, I’m naturally fast and strong, I don’t have a lot of KOs, but he knows I can punch. I think he will run all night, but I will be waiting for him, I will follow him. If he wants to fight inside, I am ready for him. He’s going to have big problems on Saturday night, he knows I can do everything, and he knows I have to timing to put him down.

“I know his style, I trained with him a long time ago in Vegas and we did some sparring. He was a baby then! But he’s a champion now and I hope he’s ready for a tough fight.

“I don’t need to say anything about what he’s said. I just think about myself and what I need to do, not what he says or does. I don’t like to talk too much, I don’t need to talk to get fans or followers or anything, I just need to go out and do my job and put on a great fight.”

Linares’ clash with Haney tops a stacked card of action in Sin City, as Chantelle Cameron (13-0 7 KOs) will defend her WBC World Super-Lightweight title against Melissa Hernandez  (23-7-3 7 KOs) in more World title action.

There’s a fascinating battle between two Golden Boy Promotions stablemates as Jason Quigley (18-1 14 KOs) and Shane Mosley Jr (17-3 10 KOs) go toe-to-toe for the WBO NABO Middleweight title and it’s a huge night for Martin J. Ward (24-1-2 11 KOs) as he faces Azinga Fuzile (14-1 8 KOs) in a final eliminator for the IBF World Super-Featherweight title.

There’s a professional debut on the card for Eddie Hearn’s latest American signing, Khalil Coe, Reshat Mati (9-0 7 KOs) enters double figures in the pro game on the night, Ramla Ali (2-0) has been impressive in her two fights since turning pro in October and the first pro female fighter from Somalia gets an introduction to American fight fans on the bill, a card that is rounded off by Devin Haney Promotions’ Amari Jones (1-0 1 KO) fighting in the paid ranks for the second time after his debut in April.