Devin Haney produces clinic against George Kambosos Jr to become undisputed lightweight champion

Devin Haney (left) was able to hit and not get hit for most of his fight against George Kambosos Jr (AP)
Devin Haney (left) was able to hit and not get hit for most of his fight against George Kambosos Jr (AP)

Devin Haney became undisputed lightweight champion on Sunday with a unanimous-decision win against George Kambosos Jr, putting on a clinic to beat the Australian in hostile territory in Melbourne.

Both fighters entered the main-event contest with belts on their shoulders and unbeaten records to boot, but it was Haney who left Marvel Stadium with all the gold, adding Kambosos Jr’s WBA, WBO and IBF titles to his WBC strap.

American Haney, 23, produced a near-shutout performance to dethrone Kambosos Jr and hand the 28-year-old the first defeat of his professional career, with the judges’ scorecards somewhat kind to the Australian in reading 116-112, 116-112, 118-110.

From the opening bell Haney fought from behind his jab, timing his shots well and disrupting the rhythm of Kambosos Jr as the home fighter looked to counter-punch.

Haney stayed disciplined and consistent throughout the bout, while Kambosos Jr became increasingly frustrated as he began to sport bruises and miss with lunging hooks.

Bad blood seemed be boiling in the lead-up to the fight, but rather than spilling it over it simply evaporated after the decision was announced, with both lightweights paying one another respect.

“This is a dream come true,” said Haney, whose father and trainer Bill was granted a visa to enter Australia just one day before the contest.

“I was going through [some hard moments] without my dad being here, because I knew this was a big moment for both of us. It would have hurt me to accomplish this without him.

“The gameplan was to go in there, hit and not be hit. I handicapped [Kambosos Jr] of his best things.

Haney celebrates becoming undisputed lightweight champion (EPA)
Haney celebrates becoming undisputed lightweight champion (EPA)

“I take my hat off to him, because he’s a true warrior. Even though he got disrespectful, I stayed a gentleman and I stayed respectful. I want to thank George Kambosos and all of Australia for coming out.

“Thanks, George, for giving me the shot. He was a true champion and gave me the shot, so thank you for this.”

Kambosos Jr responded: “This is amazing for the sport, amazing for this country. I want to take the best tests, the hardest tests.”

“We’ll do it again,” added the 28-year-old, whose contract for the fight contained a rematch clause. “I thought the fight was very close, but look, I’m not gonna wreck his moment.”

Addressing his failed weigh-in from Friday, which preceded a successful effort, Kambosos Jr said: “That was definitely not a factor. He just boxed his game. He didn’t want to come to fight too much, but that’s his game.

“All respect to him. I take the risk, I fight the best of the best. I didn’t have to fight him. F*** protecting records.

“Great event, these are great memories for my kids.”