Devin Haney is officially done with the lightweight division.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the unbeaten lineal champion has given up all remaining physical titles at the weight to campaign at junior welterweight and higher. Haney informed ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger of the decision to relinquish the WBA, IBF and WBO titles he claimed last June.
The move comes as Las Vegas’ Haney (30-0, 15KOs) will challenge WBC junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis on December 9 at the Chase Center in his birth town of San Francisco, California.
Haney appeared on borrowed time at lightweight,even headed into his May 20 unanimous decision victory over former three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas. The win marked the second successful defense of the undisputed lightweight championship and Haney’s seventh overall of the WBC title.
The sanctioning bodies began prodding the 25-year-old of his future title status earlier this summer. First was the WBO, who checked in to see if Haney would move up to junior welterweight to potentially challenge lineal and WBO 140-pound king Teofimo Lopez. Haney was then on the clock with the WBC, who ordered a mandatory title defense versus unbeaten Shakur Stevenson (21-0, 10KOs).
Haney informed the WBC of his decision to instead challenge for its 140-pound belt, at which point he was downgraded to ‘Champion in Recess’ at lightweight. Stevenson won the vacant WBC 135-pound title in a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over Edwin De Los Santos on November 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
No other mandatories were yet ordered, but Haney decided to let go of the belts rather than have the sanctioning bodies pick them off one at a time.
Haney held the WBA ‘Super’ title which will be removed from existence per the organization’s ongoing title reduction policy. Baltimore-bred knockout artist and boxing superstar Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (29-0, 27KOs) will convert his ‘Regular’ title into the WBA’s full belt at the weight.
It has been reported by several outlets that former titlists George Kambosos and Lomachenko are in talks to fight for what would now be a vacant title fight. Kambosos beat Lopez via split decision in their November 2021 thriller to win the lineal and unified WBA, IBF and WBO championship, which he lost to Haney in their undisputed championship last June in Melbourne.
Kambosos lost to Haney in their rematch last October but worked his way back into contention with a twelve-round points win over England’s Maxi Hughes. Their July 22 clash was for the number-two position in the IBF lightweight rankings. He is now the highest rated available contender, after Argentina’s Gustavo Lemos was removed after badly missing weight for a planned but ultimately canceled stay-busy fight.
Lomachecko became the benefactor of that development. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked number three by the IBF and number one with the WBO.
Should the Kambosos fight materlalize, the WBO belt would then be up for grabs between the two highest ranked and available contenders. K2 Promotions-Ukraine founder Alex Krassyuk openly campaigned during the WBO convention for Denys Berinchyk to be assured a shot at the title should it become available.
Immediately following Berinchyk is Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who is also ranked number one with the WBA and has long campaigned for a rematch versus Davis. One spot below Cruz is Tijuana knockout artist Angel Fierro (22-1-2, 17KOs), who is promoted by BXSTRS and Matchroom Boxing.
A more likely scenario, however, would be for Mexico's Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31KOs) to enter the title mix.
The three-division and reigning WBO junior lightweight titlist was granted 'Super Champion' designation by the sanctioning body. Among the benefits afforded such champions are longer periods between mandatory defenses and the right to immediately challenge for a title at a higher or lower weight.
Navarrete recently fought to a twelve-round draw versus Robson Conceicao on November 16 in Las Vegas. The stalemate marked the second defense of his current title reign. He has expressed a strong interest to unify the division but admittedly remained open to a run at a fourth divisional title should he fail to entice his fellow 130-pound titlists.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox