Devin Haney began his lightweight title run in pursuit of Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Such a fight is now in his sights three years later now that Haney is the division’s lone true champion, though not before handling present day business.
Top Rank will serve as the lead promoter for two significant lightweight shows in October. First up will be Haney’s defense of the undisputed lightweight championship in a rematch with Sydney’s George Kambosos Jr. on October 16 at Rod Laver Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Two weeks later, Lomachenko fights for the first time since being relieved from duty in a Ukrainian defense battalion as he faces Jamaine Ortiz atop an October 29 ESPN+ show from Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater in New York City.
“Vasiliy has arrived in the United States with his entire family. He’s set up training in the Los Angeles area. He will have his first fight back on October 29,” Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum stated while otherwise promoting the upcoming Haney-Kambosos rematch during a recent press conference. “I look forward to matching the winner of Haney and Kambosos with Lomachenko in the first quarter of next year.”
Lomachenko (16-2, 11KOs) was originally due to face Kambosos (20-1, 10KOs) for the lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight titles, agreeing to terms in a bid to become a two-time unified titlist at the weight. The Ukrainian southpaw had to bow out of the fight, however, once his nation was forced to defend against the ongoing Russian invasion, with Lomachenko required to serve in the war as part of his nation’s Martial Law.
Haney (28-0, 15KOs) agreed to all terms—including a multi-fight co-promotional deal with Top Rank and DiBella Entertainment, the latter who promotes Kambosos—to secure the fight once Kambosos was in need of an opponent.
It set up the first-ever undisputed championship fight at lightweight during the four-belt era, with Haney winning Kambosos’ titles while defending his WBC belt for the fifth time. His reign began by winning an interim belt in September 2019, and was upgraded to full title status after Lomachenko vacated the belt in exchange for WBC “Franchise” title status.
For years, Haney had to deal with industry-wide claims of being referred to as an e-mail champion. Those cries ultimately fell on deaf ears with each title defense, forever trampled with his win over Kambosos. The unbeaten champ from Las Vegas—who turns just 24 in November—now holds all the chips and is in position to defend against Lomachenko should both prevail in their upcoming October bouts.
It’s a fight he will gladly embrace once the time calls to focus on that task. For now, the job calls for a contractually bound rematch with Kambosos.
“My main focus is on George Kambosos. After I’m victorious, I’ll leave it up to my dad (head trainer and manager Bill Haney) to choose who I fight,” Haney noted. “If we decide, I’m fit enough and the weight is good enough to stay then we’ll do it.
“Right now, we’re focused on George Kambosos and doing it once again, performing at the top level in front of the Australian fans and have fun.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox