Devin Haney is planning to return to the ring in August.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight champion doesn’t have a specific date or an opponent just yet. His surgically repaired right shoulder has responded so well in training, though, that Haney can’t see having to sit out past the month of August, assuming his promoter, Eddie Hearn, can schedule a fight for him by then.
The 21-year-old Haney had surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder in mid-December. Las Vegas’ Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) suffered that injury when he defeated Dominican challenger Alfredo Santiago (12-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 135-pound championship match November 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“My shoulder is great,” Haney said Friday during a live chat on the WBC’s Facebook page. “I’m very happy with the way that the surgery went. I was nervous for a little while because I didn’t know, you know, how the shoulder would react, if it would be the same. But I’ve been using it, and it feels stronger. So, I’m excited to get back in the ring and show the world, you know, how good my right shoulder actually is.”
The WBC made Haney its lightweight champion in recess following his shoulder surgery, but the Mexico City-based sanctioning organization since has reinstituted him as its world champion. Haney will be permitted to make a voluntary defense of his championship in his next bout, but if he wins Haney must meet the Javier Fortuna-Luke Campbell winner in his following fight.
Before Haney’s championship status changed, the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and England’s Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) were set to fight for the WBC lightweight title April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a postponement, though what’s now an elimination match likely will be rescheduled for later in the summer.
Meanwhile, Haney is anxious to test out his shoulder in an actual fight.
“Right now, we’re looking to get back in the ring in August,” Haney said. “We haven’t finalized anything, but that’s what we’re talking about is August. We really haven’t looked at any opponents yet, you know, because we still don’t know when or where, if there’s gonna be a travel ban or, you know, how that’s gonna work. But I can’t wait to get back in the ring. I’m itching, for sure.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.