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Devin Haney is still just 23 years old. How then, in so short a career, has “The Dream” established himself not only, in promoter Bob Arum’s words, as “one of our bright young fighters in the US”, but as a lightweight who might already have achieved so much more ?
Haney is coming to prominence in the midst of the most thrilling – and crucially, open – lightweight scenes in a long time. The American has been willing to fight the cream of the division from a young age, whether that is confidently asserting he could beat a still reigning Vasiliy Lomachenko, to promise a showdown with Ryan Garcia. When Garcia was injured, it ended up being Joseph Diaz Jr who he beat skilfully in 12 rounds by unanimous decision.
That is why it doesn’t feel too early for Haney to be granted a shot at all the belts in one night when he takes on George Kambosos Jr in Melbourne.
Kambosos has resigned himself to being a perpetual underdog. The Australian is well aware that Lomachenko lost his titles on an off night to Teofimo Lopez, who in turn Kambosos beat at the first time of asking. More power to him, but with Lomachenko having declined to face him as he is continuing his military duty in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, nobody has fully taken Kambosos seriously – at least according to the man himself.
“I love the underdog status,” Kambosos said. “They’ve been against me my whole career. They’ve been saying that my whole career. I’m still the top dog, and after Sunday, I’ll remain the top dog.
“It has been a long, hard journey. Everyone knows that, but I’m ready. All the tough moments have gotten me ready for Sunday, and I will shock the world again. Underdog? Beautiful. We are ready.”
Promoters TopRank are hoping that the winner of Kambosos vs. Haney will still get the chance to fight Lomachenko – that depends on whether the two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist is willing to take time away from Ukraine; Oleksandr Usyk will be doing so to fight Anthony Joshua, but Lomachenko has already intimated he is reluctant to temporarily stand down.
Haney will at least have a major boost now that his father and chief trainer Bill Haney (he also works with Ben Davison) will be in Melbourne. Haney Sr has been granted a last-minute visa, having initially had his application to Australia turned down because of a 1992 conviction in the US.
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Kambosos Jr vs Haney
- Date: Saturday 4 June – Sunday 5 June
- Venue: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
- Fight time: Ring walks for the main event are expected around 4.30am UK time
- TV/live stream: Sky SportsAction; you can also stream the fight on Sky Go. If you’re not a Sky Sports subscriber, you can watch it with a NOW pass, which costs £11.98
- Undercard highlights: The ever-active Lucas Browne – who British fans will remember being knocked out by Dillian Whyte in 2018 – is fighting promising Junior Fa, who lost his last outing to former WBO champion Joseph Parker. It should be a special night for Australian boxing; Kambosos and Browne have both carried the flag for so long but rarely has such a momentous night taken place Down Under
- Yo predictions: Haney is the overwhelming favourite, but Kambosos has shocked the world before – even so, we’re going for Haney via stoppage in the middle rounds
- Jason Maloney vs. Aston Palicte (bantamweight)
- Junior Fa vs. Lucas Browne (heavyweight)
- Hemi Ahio vs. Christian Ndzie (heavyweight)
- David Nyika vs. Karim Maatalla (cruiserweight)
- Lachlan Higgins vs. Terry Nikolas (super lightweight)
- Andrew Moloney vs. Alexander Espinoza (super flyweight)
- Amari Jones vs. Ankush Hooda (middleweight)
- Sarah Higginson vs. Taylah Robertson (super flyweight)
- Yoel Angeloni vs. Ken Aitken (welterweight)
- Hussein Fayad vs. Pom Thanawut Phetkum (super featherweight)
- Isaiah Sette vs. Luke Gersbeck (super welterweight)
Ogawa vs Cordina
Back in February, there was an extraordinary atmosphere in Cardiff as Wales’ Liam Williams returned home and the noise was hardly deflated by a fairly comprehensive defeat to Chris Eubank Jr. This time it’s the turn of the Welsh Wizard Joe Cordina as he takes on IBF super-featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa.
Cordina can become the first Welshman to win a world title since Lee Selby seven years ago; most close to his circle of him are surprised it hasn’t already happened, but he has struggled through injuries that might have curtailed his career altogether.
Ogawa’s path has been smooth sailing by comparison, with a record of 26-1-1 (18 KOs). The Japanese fighter defends his title for the second time, having beaten Azinga Fuzile by unanimous decision last time out.
- Date: Saturday 4 June
- Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Wales
- Fight time: Ring walks for the main event are expected around 10pm UK time
- TV/live stream: DAZN, with subscriptions from £7.99 a month
- Undercard highlights: Of the Yafai brothers, Gamal probably hasn’t received due attention, but he is still a former European champion at super-bantamweight. He takes on Sean Cairns
- Yo predictions: Ogawa is a huge test but we’re backing technical Cordina to win on points
- Faroukh Kourbanov vs Zelfa Barrett
- Dalton Smith vs. Mauro Perouene
- Skye Nicolson vs. Gabriela Bouvier
- Gamal Yafai vs Sean Cairns
- Calum French vs Gadatamen Taylor
- Joe Morgan vs. Rustem Fatkhullin
- Kyron Jones vs. Vasif Mamedov
- Ben Crocker vs. Evgenii Vazem
- Monique Bux vs Ester Konecna
Any other business
- Stephen Fulton Jr has a mandatory defense of his WBC and WBO super-bantamweight titles against former unified champion Danny Roman on Saturday night in Minnesota – the fight is not available to watch or stream in the UK.
- It looks increasingly likely that Usyk and Joshua’s rematch will take place in Saudi Arabia, though there is still no news on a date and it now looks unlikely to take place before the autumn.
- Michael Hunter has begun the war of words with Hughie Fury ahead of their fight on 2 July, telling him he “just can’t punch”. The winner of Hunter vs. Fury is expected to face whoever comes out on top in Daniel Dubois’ fight with WBA regular champion Trevor Bryan.
- Michael Conlan’s comeback has also been confirmed – seeking to bounce back from his devastating knockout at the hands of Leigh Wood, he’ll be back in Belfast on 6 August against Miguel Marriaga.