Devin Haney hopes it won’t be necessary to wait for Javier Fortuna to face Luke Campbell before he gets a shot to fight for the WBC lightweight title again.
The WBC ordered a Fortuna-Campbell clash while Haney recovered from shoulder surgery Haney underwent in December.
The Dominican Republic’s Fortuna, the WBC’s number one lightweight contender, and England’s Campbell, its second-ranked challenger, were supposed to fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. That fight was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis.
The 21-year-old Haney previously was named the WBC’s lightweight champion in recess because his rehabilitation from surgery prevented him from making a mandated defense of that 135-pound championship versus Fortuna.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has halted all boxing business, Haney has petitioned the WBC to allow him to fight Fortuna next for its lightweight crown once bouts can be scheduled. Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) stated during SiriusXM’s “Ak And Barak Show” on Friday that he expects the WBC to rule on his request within approximately a week.
“As of now, I’m looking to defend my title against my mandatory challenger, Javier Fortuna,” Haney said. “You know, because he’s the mandatory, somebody I’m gonna have to fight. And then, after that, I wanna move on to the big fights. But as of now, the main person I’m looking at is Javier Fortuna.”
Vasiliy Lomachenko beat Campbell by unanimous decision to win the then-vacant WBC lightweight title August 31 at O2 Arena in London.
Haney stopped Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) after the fourth round September 13 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater to win the WBC’s interim lightweight championship. The WBC eventually elevated Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) to franchise champion and installed Haney as its world lightweight champ.
In his first title defense, Las Vegas’ Haney beat the Dominican Republic’s Alfredo Santiago (12-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder November 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Haney had surgery to repair his right shoulder the following month.
The WBC later ordered Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) to box for a vacant version of its 135-pound crown.
“I wouldn’t have been able to fight in time to defend my title because of the injury,” said Haney, who expects to box by July, if fights can happen by then. “So, they made me the champion in recess, that whenever I came back, whenever I was fully healed and recovered, I would face the mandatory challenger. And since all this has happened, and the COVID-19 has happened, the two mandatories weren’t able to fight each other. So, that’s why I’m petitioning to the WBC as of now to just let me fight Javier Fortuna for the world title. And we’ll know in about a week or so what their decision is. But it’s looking like I’ll be fighting Javier Fortuna.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.