Vasiliy Lomachenko and his team have angled to remain in place for another crack at the lightweight crown.

Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s longtime manager, has contacted the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO with the expressed request to have the former three-division titlist ranked number-one across the board in the lightweight division. The appeal comes in the wake of the Ukrainian southpaw’s twelve-round, unanimous decision defeat to undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney atop a May 20 ESPN Pay-Per-View from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Judges David Moretti (116-112), David Sutherland (115-113) and Tim Cheatham (115-113) scored unanimously for Haney (30-0, 15KOs) in a terrific lightweight championship clash. The filed protests carry the suggestion that Lomachenko (17-3, 11KOs) was the victim of a controversial verdict.

“This past Saturday in Las Vegas, Vasiliy Lomachenko challenged Undisputed Lightweight Champion Devin Haney in Las Vegas,” Klimas stated in a common open to all four major sanctioning bodies. “The crowd at the MGM and the boxing world reacted to condemn what it believes to be an unfair and unjust decision that denied Loma his rightful victory and his lifetime goal of being undisputed champion of the world.”

In similarly worded letters to the WBC and WBO, Klimas pleaded for the 35-year-old Lomachenko to remain the number-one contender that he held prior to Saturday’s title challenge. Klimas also called for IBF president Daryl Peoples and WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza to both elevate Lomachenko to the number-one position in their respective rankings.

Lomachenko is currently ranked number three by both organizations. The WBA also recognizes Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis as its ‘Regular’ titleholder; Haney holds the ‘Super’ title with the same organization. William Zepeda (28-0, 24KOs) was recently promoted to number-one in the WBA lightweight rankings.

Argentina’s Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18KOs) is the identified mandatory challenger in the IBF lightweight rankings. The unbeaten Argentine earned that placement with a fifth-round knockout of Lee Selby in their title eliminator last March 26 in Buenos Aires, but has not fought since that night.  

It was also suggested that Lomachenko’s team will file an official protest with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Such decisions are rarely if ever overturned, though the basis of Klimas’ complaint will likely center on his pre-fight request to have judge Moretti removed from the officiating pool.

The request was denied by the Nevada commission, who continues to regard Moretti as one of its top judges.

However, his fight night ringside scoring has been called into question in recent years.

The Nevada-based official scored five of the last six rounds for Haney, a viewpoint shared by next to nobody who watched the fight live or even upon further review. A red flag was raised when learned that Moretti awarded 10-9 score for Haney in round ten,

Moretti was also one of the three judges for Davis’ seventh-round knockout of Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19KOs) in their April 22 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Davis (29-0, 27KOs) won via seventh-round knockout in a performance that saw the Baltimore-bred southpaw score knockdowns in rounds two and seven. Moretti inexplicably submitted a 10-10 score for round two. Judges Cheatham and Steve Welsfeld both scored the round 10-9 for Davis rather than the traditional 10-8, suggesting that Garcia otherwise won the round—a viewpoint shared by most observers.

Similarly, a common theme from Saturday’s outing was that a number of rounds were close and thus outcome sparked immediate post-fight debate. A near-unanimous view is shared that Moretti’s round ten score was wrong and that his scoring all but one of the final six rounds for Haney is not in line with the fight that took place.

While a protest with the Nevada commission is a likely non-starter, there is motivation for Klimas to have Lomachenko favorably ranked with at least one sanctioning body.

It is widely believed that Haney will move up to the 140-pound junior welterweight division. Such a move would result in his abdication of the lightweight championship throne.

The WBA belt is already spoken for, as Davis would become the full titleholder by default. That would leave the WBA, IBF and WBO titles up for grabs, though two already have established mandatory challengers.

The IBF continues to recognize Lemos as its top contender.

The WBC is represented in that regard by Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10KOs), the former WBO featherweight titlist and unified WBC/WBO 130-pound champion who called out Haney in the ring after the fight. Stevenson had Lomachenko winning the fight though subsequently acknowledged a close fight after initially suggesting that Lomachenko was robbed and should be recognized as the undisputed lightweight champion.

Lomachenko and Stevenson are both promoted by Top Rank, with whom Haney just completed a three-fight co-promotional deal. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum was caught on a hot mic as he expressed to Lomachenko and Klimas prior to the start of the post-fight press conference that Lomachenko “won that fight easy.”

While a rematch with Haney seems highly unlikely, Lomachenko’s team will continue to pursue all avenues to ensure his place in the front of the line for any belt that becomes available.

“Loma was denied his victory in the ring on Saturday,” claimed Klimas. “[H]e deserves the opportunity… to get another chance at realizing his goals as soon as possible.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox