Undisputed lightweight world champion Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) will defend his title for the second time this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in the toughest matchup of his career thus far: against Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs).
Haney won the undisputed championship in June 2022 by defeating George Kambosos, Jr. in Australia, which he did a second time in a rematch four months later. But Lomachenko will be much tougher than his previous opponent.
“I’ve been wanting this fight since 2019,” said Haney. “I’ve been begging for it and calling for it. The time has finally come. The tables have turned this time around. When he had the belts, he didn’t want to fight me. But it’s a fight where I truly believe I am the better fighter. I’m the better competitor. I will be victorious.”
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The 24-year-old-Haney was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland until moving with his father Bill to Las Vegas when he was 14. “This is a legacy fight for me,” he maintained. “Lomachenko at one time was [the] No.1 pound-for-pound [boxer in the world].”
Several weeks ago, Haney discussed the state of his training.
“Camp has been great,” he emphasized. “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling strong. My weight is good. I’m happy and in good spirits. I’m ready to go.” Although Haney is confident he will be victorious, he was complimentary of Lomachenko.
“He has experience and ring generalship,” the 5’8” fighter nicknamed The Dream noted. “I know he’s training for a dirty fight. He wants to get in and get as dirty as possible in the clinch. That’s what I’ve heard that he’s training for. We’re just preparing for whatever he brings to the table.”
The 35-year-old Lomachenko, who was born in the former Soviet Union region that is now Ukraine, had a legendary amateur career. He won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the featherweight division and took gold in the lightweight division at the 2012 London Olympics. He also was the 2009 and 2011 World Championships gold medalist in the featherweight and lightweight divisions, respectively.
Going head-to-head, Haney’s work rate, jab, and height advantage, in addition to the 5’7” Lomachenko’s age should earn the victory for Haney.
Newark, New Jersey, native Shakur Stevenson could be next for Haney. At 20-0, Stevenson, the unbeaten southpaw, is the former WBO featherweight and super featherweight champion. Both Haney and Stevenson are promoted by Top Rank.
The Haney-Lomachenko clash will be broadcast on ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT for $59.99.
Last weekend, Rolando “Rolly” Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) won the vacant WBA super-lightweight championship in a controversial stoppage. Ismael Barroso, who was winning on all three scorecards, not only appeared to be unhurt and ably defending himself, but was still throwing punches. Romero defended the premature ending before admitting that it was too soon.
“I’ll be honest: He’s a warrior and he should have been allowed to continue,” Romero said. “The first punch was when I had him hurt to begin with.”
The 40-year-old Barroso (24-4-2, 22 KOs) disagreed. “I think it was an injustice to stop the fight,” said Barroso. “The referee just stopped the fight, and he didn’t say anything…I’m the one who’s hitting him. I don’t understand why they stopped the fight.”
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