27/02/2024

Devin Haney defeated George Kambosos Jr to claim The WBO, WBA, IBF & Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles. (Photo: TopRankBoxing/Twitter)

In a fight for all the marbles, Devin Haney outclassed Aussie George Kambosos Jr to become the Undisputed Lightweight Champion.

Despite being in a hostile environment, Devin Haney (28-0, 15 KO) defeated Aussie George Kambosos Jr (20-1, 10 KO) by unanimous decision (116-112×2, 118-110) to finally unify the Lightweight Division.

The win makes Haney the youngest Undisputed Champion of all time as well as the first man to unify all Lightweight belts in the four-belt era.

Back in November of 2021, George Kambosos Jr shocked the world when he defeated Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KO) to capture the IBF, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight titles.

To become Undisputed, however, Kambosos needed to claim the WBC title held by the 23-year-old American.

After negotiations, the fight was set for Marvel Stadium. Leading up to the fight, there was a lot of back and forth between the two, but on fight day the time for talk was over.

Devin Haney was greeted by the Australian faithful with a chorus of boos, as Kambosos entered the arena with a Greek-inspired entrance, the crowd cheered for their hometown man.

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The first round started off as a slow feeling out process, as Haney’s jab was the main punch that landed.

The Ferocious One bounced back strong in the second round, after landing a big overhand right that staggered Haney, with the American doing a great job to recover quickly.

Both rounds three and four had the same story, as Kambosos seemed to be very reactive to Haney’s offence. The WBC champion’s corner noticed this and instructed their fighter to always be first.

Although round five saw a more aggressive Kambosos, round six onwards turned out to be a boxing masterclass from “The Dream” with the Aussie looking just a step behind his opponent.

The story of the fight turned out to be the world-class jab and footwork of Haney that made the Aussie continuously hit thin air and although the Unified Champion had his moments, it was just not enough to win the rounds.

Going into the championship rounds, George Kambosos Sr urged his son to show more aggression as the fight was starting to slip away.

In the final round, Marvel Stadium started to get behind their hometown hero as it was clear he needed a knockout to win the fight. Kambosos showed more aggression and pressed a rather comfortable Haney who took the round off, but it was a case of too little too late.

At the end of the fight, the scorecards read 116-112, 116-112, 118-110 all in favour of Devin Haney.

In his post-fight interview with Warren Smith, Haney said that his game plan was very defence-heavy.

“The game plan was just to hit and not get hit and I did that for the majority of the fight, I took the last round off just because I knew I was comfortable,” Haney said.

“I handicapped (Kambosos) of his best things, he wanted to land the overhand right hand and the big left hook. I was fighting both ways, when I went to the left I would fight his right hand, if I went to the right I’d fight his hook and he didn’t hit me with either one of them.”

Haney was quick to praise Kambosos and even stated he was open to returning to Melbourne for a rematch as per the clause in the contract.

“I take my hat off to him because he’s a true warrior,” Haney said.

“Anyone that steps in the ring I respect, it was nothing but respect in the whole build-up, even though he got disrespectful I stayed a gentleman and stayed professional.”

Despite the loss, George Kambosos was gracious in defeat.

“Yeah, this is amazing for this sport, amazing for this country. At the end of the day I want to take the best tests, I want to give full respect to (Haney), he’s won here today I’ll let him have his time and we’ll do it again,” Kambosos said.

The now-former champion also stated that the controversy at the weigh-ins did not affect his performance.

“No, it was definitely not a factor. He boxed his game, he moved, he boxed, he didn’t really want to fight too much but that’s his game,” he said.

“I respect him, I just got to change a few things and get him back at the end of this year.”

Although Kambosos had no excuses for his loss to Haney, Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech was highly critical of his corner for not showing enough urgency to get a finish over his American foe, stating that his father was the only man reminding Kambosos that he was down.

The win for Haney lines him up for many big Pay Per View fights to come, but for George Kambosos it does put him in an interesting position in the stacked Lightweight Division. It will be very interesting to see how the spartan from down under bounces back.

Rest of the Main Card

Jason Moloney def Aston Palicte by TKO (2:35 of Round 3)

In a very fun back and forth fight, Jason Moloney made a statement when he defeated Aston Palicte to establish himself as a mainstay in boxing’s Bantamweight Division.

The fight was mainly fought on the inside with Moloney mixing it up with ripping shots to the head and body. Late into the third round, however, the Aussie landed a massive right hand that sent Palicte to the canvas. Palicte answered the count but was finished by a flurry of punches as the referee stopped the fight.

In his post-fight interview, Moloney called for a world title shot against either Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue, who are both fighting in a title unification next week.

David Nyika def Karim Maatalla by Unanimous Decision (49-46×2, 48-47)

Former Olympic Bronze Medalist David Nyika showcased why he is a fighter to watch, as he defeated a very game Karim Maatalla.

After a very eccentric Boba Fett entrance, Nyika went on to have a near-perfect performance, using his range and superior footwork to out-skill his opponent. Although Maatalla had his moments in terms of pressing, he was simply no match for the Kiwi.

David Nykia defeated Karim Maatalla by Unanimous Decision (Photo: davidnyika/Instagram)

Hemi Ahio def Christian Tsoye by TKO (Retirement)

The fight started off very competitive and aggressive with both men having their moments, however, the fight was called to an anti-climatic halt as Tsoye suffered an arm injury that rendered him unable to continue.

Lucas Browne def Junior Fa by TKO (1:58 of the Round 1)

Lucas Browne silenced his critics with a jaw-dropping knockout of Junior Fa.

The fight started off slow until Browne landed a big overhand right that put Fa on the canvas, Fa was able to rise to his feet but was still on wobbly legs.

Browne chased him to land one more right hand for the referee to stop the fight.

Undercard

Terry Nickolas vs. Lachlan Higgins Ends in a Majority Draw (56-58, 57-57×2)

Taylah Robertson def Sarah Higginson by Unanimous decision (50-43×3)

Yoel Angeloni def Ken Aitken by Unanimous Decision (40-36, 39-37×2)

Pom Thanawut Phetkum def Hussein Fayad by Unanimous Decision

Post-Main Card

Luke Gersbeck vs Isaias Sette Ends in a Majority Draw (39-37, 38-38×2)

Andrew Moloney def Alexander Espinoza by TKO (Retirement)

Amari Jones def Ankush Hooda TKO (1:53 of Round 2)

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