Loma wants to be undisputed at 135

After being out of the ring for ten months, former three-weight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who at one point, was fighting in a war for his home country Ukraine while he was away from the ring, made his return Saturday night against Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs) at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko started slow but took over late in the fight to defeat Ortiz by unanimous decision. 

The three judges had it 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111, all for Loma.

Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Ortiz was the aggressor early in the fight as he utilized his jab, which caused some bruising under Loma’s right eye.  After six rounds, Ortiz and Lomachenko were even on two scorecards, but Ortiz was ahead by two points on the other.

However, Loma controlled the fight from there, and two of the judges had Lomachenko sweeping the final six rounds. Overall, Lomachenko outlanded Ortiz 125-122.

“I’m happy. I’m happy to come back in the ring and make this a great show,” Lomachenko said. “Thank you to my fans for the support. You know what motivated me? Four belts!”

Now, Loma(17-2, 11 KOs) has his sights set on a fight with undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, who was in attendance Saturday night. 

Midway through Lomachenko’s post-fight interview, he was joined in the ring by Haney, who expressed his desire to fight Loma next.

Haney felt this was not Loma’s best performance, which is true, but he expects to see a better version of the Ukrainian superstar if the two were to fight.

“I think it wasn’t the best performance, but I know if me and Loma were to fight, we’d see a better version on the night,” Haney said. “Congratulations, and hopefully, we can get it on.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum wants Haney-Lomachenko and will do everything he can to make it happen.

“The fight to make in the lightweight division is Haney versus Lomachenko,” Arum said. “And we will do everything we can to make the undisputed championship showdown that all fight fans want to see. They are the world’s premier lightweights, and it would be a fantastic battle.”

Haney-Loma would be a quality fight, but you have to favor Haney at this point. He’s the bigger and younger guy; at this point, who knows how many great nights Loma has in his 35-year-old body. Defeating Ortiz was a good win Loma, but Haney will be much more demanding.

Ramirez gets it done:

Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs) wants a featherweight title shot, and he may get it soon. The two-time Olympic gold medalist steamrolled late replacement Jose Matias Romero (26-3, 9 KOs) via ninth-round TKO to retain his USBA and WBO Global belts. Ramirez had his man his trouble in the first and seventh rounds, but the Argentina native refused to relent. In the ninth, Ramirez uncorked a left hand that staggered Romero and ended the one-way carnage.

Ramirez outlanded Romero in power punches, 129-32, including a 19-3 advantage in the ninth round. He is now targeting a featherweight world title shot in early 2023.

“We know that Matias is a fighter who is slick, who knows how to survive inside the ring, and that was his plan. I hurt him early, but then we tried to get him out early. And then, Ismael Salas, who is my strategist… he is a chess master. He’s moving the pieces in there, and finally we were able to do it properly and get him out of there,” Ramirez said. “I think the result speaks for itself. I got the stoppage, sent a message, and in the end, if {Emanuel} Navarrete is no longer the champion at 126 pounds, if he’s fighting Oscar Valdez for the championship at 130 pounds, then I got next at 126, and I want that belt.”

In undercard action:

Heavyweight: Richard Torrez Jr. (4-0, 4 KOs) TKO 3 Ahmed Hefny (13-3, 5 KOs). In the evening’s final preliminary bout, Torrez joined his Olympic teammates in the win column. After a second-round stoppage and a pair of first-round knockouts to start his pro career, Torrez saw the third round for the first time. Hefny was knocked down with a left hand in the second, and the onslaught continued in the third until referee Arthur Mercante stepped in.

Featherweight: Duke Ragan (8-0, 1 KO) UD Luis Lebron (18-5-1, 11 KOs), Scores: 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75. U.S. Olympic silver medalist Ragan did what he does best, which is to use his well-schooled defense to offset his hard-charging foe. Lebron, the Puerto Rican power puncher, was never deterred, if not effective. The Garden crowd booed the verdict, but Cincinnati’s Ragan did more than enough to seal the victory on the judges’ cards.

Middleweight: Troy Isley (8-0, 4 KOs) UD 8 Quincy Lavallais (14-4-1, 9 KOs), Scores: 80-72 2x and 79-73. Isley passed his first eight-round test with flying colors, nearly shutting out Lavallais, a six-year pro known for his iron chin.

Junior Welterweight: Tiger Johnson (6-0, 4 KOs) UD 6 Esteban Garcia (15-2, 7 KOs), Scores: 60-54 3x. Johnson’s three-bout knockout streak ended, but the Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympian gained much-needed experience in going the six-round distance for the first time in his career.

Middleweight: Nico Ali Walsh (7-0, 5 KOs) UD 6 Billy Wagner (5-3, 1 KO), Scores: 58-56 2x and 59-55. Ali Walsh received a lot of resistance from Montana native Wagner, who weathered an early storm and even appeared to stun the grandson of “The Greatest” at the end of the second round. Wagner could not sustain his early success, as Ali Walsh pressed forward in the final two rounds to secure the narrow victory.

Lightweight: Abdullah Mason (5-0, 4 KOs) TKO 4 Angel Barrera (4-1), :21. Southpaw sensation Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, fought well beyond his years with a methodical and devastating beatdown of Barrera. Mason notched a pair of knockdowns in the third round, the first coming courtesy of a straight left hand. Early in the fourth, a sweeping left compelled referee Johnny Callas to wave off the fight.

Junior Lightweight: Haven Brady Jr. (8-0, 4 KOs) UD 8 Eric Mondragon (7-1-1, 4 KOs), Scores: 79-73 2x and 78-74. In a battle of unbeatens, Brady authored the most significant win of his career, picking apart the California-born Mondragon with an assortment of jabs and uppercuts.

Haney: ‘I should definitely be on the pound-for-pound rankings’

The first time he was good, but undisputed 135-pound champion Devin Haney was even better in the rematch. Haney bloodied and dominated George Kambosos Jr. for over 12 rounds to retain his titles on Sunday afternoon at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

The three judges had it 119-109 and 118-110(2x), all for Haney.

Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) handled his business in Australia in June as he dominated Kambosos(20-2, 10 KOs) to capture the titles. The Australian had a mandated rematch and hoped things would be different the second time.

To Kambosos’ credit, he tried new things, including switching to southpaw, and he was effective in Round 1. However, Haney picked things up from there. He, again, used his jab and landed some beautiful right hands throughout the night. 

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Last time, it was about Haney’s jab, and this time, it was about the power shots. According to CompuBox, Haney landed 114 out of 232 power shots, while Kambosos only landed 50 of 181.

“I knew that he was looking for the jab,” Haney said after the win. “So, my team wanted me to show other tools in my arsenal. My dad {head trainer Bill Haney} wanted me to throw the hook more. But I feel that the right hand was what won me the fight tonight. When he first came out, I didn’t expect him to be switching. But I caught on to his timing and his angles, and I started to pick my shots more. Against a southpaw, the right hand is always on the money. That’s what happened.”

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Haney feels at this point that this win should get him more respect in boxing and put him on the pound-for-pound list.

“I should definitely be on the pound-for-pound rankings,’ he said. “In the first fight, they said that all I had was my jab. Today, I came in and showed them my right hand. I showed how versatile I am. I came to Australia not once but twice. I beat this man twice in his hometown. I definitely deserve to be in the pound-for-pound rankings.”

For Kambosos, you wonder what’s next. He clearly has no answers for Haney, but fortunately for him, that win over Teofimo Lopez got him a few decent paydays. However, Kambosos says it’s not over.

“He’s a great fighter,” Kambosos said about Haney. “He gave me a good boxing lesson the first time, and I came here, and I gave it my all. I had a great preparation. He’s slick, man. He’s a good fighter. He’s slick. I tried my best. I need some rest. Two great fights, you know. It is what it is. I tried my hardest. Devin, I wish you all the best. This is not the end for George Kambosos. I’ll be back.

“I had a great win last year. I was on top of the world. I tried to chase the best. He’s one of the best in the world. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.”

Haney has many options, but you wonder if those options will continue to be at 135 or 140. At some point, Haney is going to move up to 140. He and his team will have to determine what’s best for his career, but if I’m Team Haney, I try to get a big money fight at 135 and then try my hand at 140.

Haney: ‘We’re prepared to win by any means necessary’

Undisputed lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney first came to Australia in June with one world title. He returned home with all the belts and is intent on repeating his virtuoso performance against George Kambosos Jr.

Haney will defend the titles in enemy territory against Kambosos on Sunday afternoon (Saturday evening prime time in the U.S.) at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

The two combatants faced off yesterday, but at today’s open workout, they were kept separate. Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) received a warm reception from the local fans, who witnessed him unifying all the titles just four months earlier at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium. Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) enters the rematch as the betting underdog and hopes to recapture the magic that propelled him to a stunning title-winning effort over Teofimo Lopez last year.

Haney-Kambosos 2 will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m PT.

This is what the main event fighters had to say.

Devin Haney

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

“We’ve definitely made some adjustments, learned from the first fight. Obviously, we all know he’s going to come with a different game plan. The same things that worked in the first fight may not work as good in the second fight, so we’re preparing for it all.”

“We just have to see how the fight plays out. We’re prepared to win by any means necessary, so that’s our main focus is winning. If a knockout comes, then it comes, but my main focus is winning.”

“He definitely should’ve been humbled, but at the end of the day, his head got big. It got to his head.”

“I enjoy the process, every step of it. I enjoy the whole process, and I’m excited for the press conference tomorrow and the weigh-ins.”

“He’s making up every excuse in the book. He said he wasn’t going to, but now they’re saying I was holding, it was this, it was that. Whatever you want to say, he can keep saying it. The talk doesn’t matter. I’m going to go in there and do what I’m going to do regardless. No matter what referee is in there, no matter where the fight is at, it doesn’t matter.”

George Kambosos Jr.

“I feel a lot of energy, very relaxed, very zoned in. Like I said, I’m a fighter. I’m not trying to do anything else. It’s going great, going fantastic. We’re very focused. We’re very zoned in and hungry for victory. That’s all.”

“When I went back to that dressing room {after the first fight}, my mindset changed right away. I’m a challenger again. I wasn’t upset. I’m in a familiar place, and this is where I’ve been most of my career. Doubt me? No problem. I love when they doubt me. I love when they think I have no chance. That’s OK. We’ll prove them wrong once again.”

“We’ve come with a fantastic game plan, so we’re ready for whatever. If he brings whatever style, if he’s the same style, if he brings somehow an Arturo Gatti kind of style, which I doubt very highly, let’s see. Let’s see on Sunday what he tries. Man to man, let’s fight!”

“I have a smaller team. I don’t have too much of an entourage, but I got a team I’m very comfortable with. I’m taking it old school. I’m going back to what got me there.”

Moloney Brothers return on Haney-Kambosos 2 undercard

Many of Australia’s top fighting talents will enjoy the Down Under spotlight underneath the highly anticipated rematch between undisputed lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney and former champion “Ferocious” George Kambosos Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 15 (Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16 local time) at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

In the co-feature, two-time world title challenger Jason “Mayhem” Moloney takes on Thai veteran Nawaphon Kaikanha in a 12-round final eliminator for the WBC bantamweight world title.

Former world champion Andrew Moloney, Jason’s twin brother, battles Dominican contender Norbelto Jimenez in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBO International junior bantamweight title. The Moloney Brothers grew up in Mitcham, a suburb of Melbourne, and will have the home soil advantage.

Haney-Kambosos 2 will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+.

Jason Moloney (24-2, 19 KOs) fell short in his two shots at the bantamweight title, dropping a split decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018 and succumbing via seventh-round stoppage to Naoya Inoue in 2020. Since the Inoue setback, he has won three in a row, including a stunning third-round knockout over Aston Palicte on the Kambosos-Haney 1 undercard in June. Kaikanha (56-1-1, 46 KOs) has won 20 consecutive fights since a 2017 TKO loss to Juan Hernandez Navarrete for the vacant WBC flyweight world title. He has been campaigning at bantamweight for more than three years, winning 12 straight by stoppage. Kaikanha has never fought outside of Thailand and will make the nine-hour flight to fight Moloney in hostile territory.

“This fight is one final steps towards me achieving my dream and becoming world champion,” Jason Moloney said. “Nawaphon Kaikanha is a very experienced and capable opponent who has had 58 professional fights and only one defeat. To have this fight in Melbourne, at Rod Laver Arena, in front of all my family and friends, is amazing and gives me even more motivation. Thank you to my manager, Tony Tolj, Top Rank, and everyone involved for making this fight happen. I will grab this opportunity with both hands and earn my shot at becoming the WBC world champion.”

Andrew Moloney (24-2, 16 KOs) held the WBA 115-pound world title briefly until Joshua Franco dethroned him in June 2020, but three fights against the American standout introduced him to an international audience. Moloney has kept active since a decision defeat to Franco last August, going 3-0 and rising the junior bantamweight rankings. Like his brother, Andrew Moloney made the most of his homecoming on the Kambosos-Haney 1 bill. He busted the right eye of Alexander Espinoza, who retired on his stool following the second round. Jimenez (31-9-6, 16 KOs) is a two-time world title challenger who is unbeaten in four fights, a run that includes a spirited draw last December against four-weight world champion Donnie Nietes. He has authored a remarkable career turnaround, as he began his career 2-8-1. Since that low-water mark, Jimenez is 29-1-5 over the past 11-plus years.

“I’m hoping that an impressive win over Jimenez earns me a shot at one of the world champions next,” Andrew Moloney said. “This is exactly the type of fight I’ve been wanting, to show the improvements I have made and that I am ready to become world champion again. I’m coming to put on the best performance of my career.”

The undercard also features two of New Zealand’s world class boxing prospects, Olympic bronze medalist David Nyika (4-0, 3 KOs) and heavyweight puncher Hemi Ahio (19-0, 14 KOs), who are both returning to Melbourne after appearing on Kambosos-Haney 1 undercard. Nyika, who is campaigning at cruiserweight, is scheduled to fight in a six-rounder. Ahio looks for his sixth consecutive knockout in an eight-rounder.

Devin Haney Promotions-promoted prospect Amari Jones (7-0, 7 KOs) is set to go for knockout number eight in a six-round junior middleweight bout.

Haney-Kambosos 2 set for October 15 in Melbourne

Undisputed lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney will defend all the belts against Sydney native “Ferocious” George Kambosos Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 15 (Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16 local time), at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Haney-Kambosos 2 will be broadcast in prime time in the United States, live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+.

Haney and Kambosos first tangled June 5 in Melbourne as a Victoria-record boxing crowd of 41,129 fans packed Marvel Stadium to watch the world’s best lightweights unify the division. Haney neutralized Kambosos and earned a clear points verdict to become the undisputed champion.

Promoted by Top Rank, Devin Haney Promotions, DiBella Entertainment, Ferocious Promotions, Duco Events, and TEG Sport, Haney-Kambosos 2 will feature a world-class undercard, and a pumped up Kambosos hell-bent on revenge. Tickets to this epic rematch will go on-sale on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 10 am AEST via tegsport.com.au.

“George Kambosos is quiet right now like he should have been before our first fight. I wish him a healthy training camp,” Haney said. “I’m expecting a hungry and determined Kambosos on October 16th in Melbourne. I will be prepared for any adjustment he brings. This is a great opportunity to gain more Aussie fans and add to my legacy.”

“Devin Haney is a special fighter, but you can never count out George Kambosos Jr., especially when his most ardent supporters will be out in full force,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “These are the two best lightweights in the world, and it will be another memorable event in Melbourne.”

Kambosos said, “I am looking forward to October 16th at Rod Laver Arena, and that’s where I will do my talking. Inside the ring.”

“George Kambosos Jr. is again the hungry challenger, chasing Devin Haney’s belts, with a chance to regain it all on home soil,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Kambosos-Haney 1 was the Devin Haney show. George is going to have to fight a completely different fight to get that victory, and he knows it. That alone assures an action-packed rematch. The odds are against George. He needs to defy the odds yet again.”

“With almost half of the crowd from the first fight hailing from outside Victoria, we look forward to welcoming boxing fans back to Melbourne to watch what will be an epic rematch, ” said Steve Dimopoulos, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events. “We’re delivering a spectacular calendar of the biggest and best events – drawing more visitors to Victoria, more often and supporting businesses across the state.”

Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) returns to Melbourne intent on repeating his fistic masterclass, a victory that propelled him up the mythical pound-for-pound rankings. “The Dream” has been a history-making phenom since turning professional in Mexico less than one month after his 17th birthday. He made his U.S. debut in Las Vegas on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley III undercard in April 2016, and at 19, he became the youngest licensed promoter in boxing history. He was awarded the WBC world championship in October 2019 and defended that belt four times before taking the 8,000-plus mile journey to battle Kambosos in his homeland. Haney overcame adversity, as his father/trainer, Bill Haney, was granted a temporary visa by the Australian government less than three days before the fight. Bill Haney arrived in Melbourne the evening before the bout, and the dynamic father-son duo made undisputed magic whilst stripping Kambosos of his three world title belts.

Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) became the toast of the sport with his decision verdict over Teofimo Lopez last November, which was named ESPN’s Upset of the Year. It was the culmination of a hard-fought journey for Kambosos. He fought in Malaysia, Greece, London, New York City, Connecticut, and Las Vegas as he graduated from prospect to contender. For Kambosos, who had 12 of his first 13 pro fights in Australia, the Haney super fight marked one of the most significant international sporting events to take place in Melbourne. He entered the fight as the slight underdog, but Haney was unfazed by the army of raucous Australian-Greek supporters that shook Marvel Stadium. Haney blunted Kambosos’ offensive arsenal with an educated jab to win going away. Kambosos exercised his rematch clause and is preparing to paint a masterpiece in this undisputed sequel.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.”