Devin Haney will have his greatest supporter by his side after all.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Bill Haney, Devin’s father/head trainer/manager, was granted a travel visa which will allow him to travel abroad to Melbourne. The eleventh-hour development leaves a tight window of opportunity, though efforts have been made to secure a flight for the elder Haney to arrive in Australia by Sunday morning in time for Devin Haney’s undisputed lightweight championship clash with Sydney’s George Kambosos Jr.
Hall of Fame-elected Lou DiBella—who promotes Kambosos and co-promotes Haney along with Top Rank—confirmed that the elder Haney was able to board a flight Friday morning and will arrive in Australia by Saturday evening.
The bout takes place early Sunday afternoon local time at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. ESPN will televise the card live beginning Saturday evening 9:00 p.m ET/Sunday 11:00 a.m. AEST. Las Vegas’ Haney (27-0, 15KOs) puts his WBC lightweight belt on the line for the fifth time against Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs), who defends his lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO championship for the first time.
The 23-year-old Haney was forced to leave his father behind upon making the trip to Melbourne more than two weeks ago. Bill Haney fully intended to travel with his son, only to learn at the time that his visa status was not yet approved. His application was held up due to a review of his drug conviction from nearly 30 years ago, for which he served more than a year in prison.
Australian visa rules state that felons who have served 12 months or more in prison are ineligible to qualify for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) or eVisitor visa required for short-term visits. Bill Haney stated in advance his past criminal record in hopes of avoiding this scenario, though the issue remained unresolved until late Thursday evening Pacific time.
A contingency plan was already in place in the event Bill Haney was unable to make the trip. Yoel Judah—Bill’s mentor and close friend of the family—was tabbed to lead Haney’s corner for the biggest fight of his career to date.
As the end of the month approached, Haney and his team were prepared to accept the worst-case scenario that Bill Haney would not be able to make the trip abroad. However, a final review of the visa application accompanied by a Statutory Declaration provided by Devin Haney was the pivotal point in swaying the delegate to grant approval for his father to travel to Australia.
The late-hour development now allows Bill Haney to arrive in country in time to coach his son in a bid to become the youngest undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
It comes right on time for Devin Haney, who learned Friday afternoon (local time) that he would be without the services of renowned cutman and hand wrapper "Do It All" Bob Ware.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Ware was detained by Australian Border Patrol authorities Friday morning local time on claims that he failed to disclose a prior conviction when applying for his ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) visa. Ware disclosed such information upon touching down in Melbourne and seemed genuinely dumbfounded when authorities claimed he indicated "No" in the same section on his ETA.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox