By Niall O'Connell
A mammoth Undisputed showdown has officially been confirmed, as Devin Haney will put all the 135-pound straps on the line against multi-weight king Vasyl Lomachenk on May 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"Devin Haney is the sport's brightest young superstar, and he's taking on a tremendous challenge against one of this generation's best pound-for-pound fighters in Vasiliy Lomachenko," said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
"This is what boxing is all about.
"Devin and Loma are sensational boxers, and I'm sure it will be a memorable fight."
Lomachenko, who won Olympic, World and European Championship gold medals as an amateur, will be contesting the sixteenth world title fight of his professional career in just his twentieth outing. Starting at featherweight, the Ukrainian phenom has defeated the likes of Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares and Luke Campbell on the way to picking up world honours in three seperate divisions: 126,130 and 135lbs. He hasn't been a world champion since a tight decision defeat against the then-unbeaten Teofimo Lopez in October of 2020 seperated him from his unified lightweight titles. The 35 year old Lomachenko has won three fights on the spin since the Lopez disappointment, and now has the opportunity to reach the summit of a stacked lightweight division once again if he can produce another marvellous display to dethrone the young American superstar Haney.
Lomachenko said, "My goal is to become the undisputed lightweight champion, and Devin Haney is the man with the belts. I respect his boxing IQ and am excited for this challenge."
The champion Haney has achieved so much at such a young age. Turning professional in 2015 at the age of 17, Haney has compiled a perfect record thus far, claiming victories over the likes of veterans such as Jorge Linares and Yuriorkis Gamboa. After being elevated to full WBC lightweight world champion in 2019, Haney got the chance to fulfil his promise and unify the division three years later as he travelled into enemy territory for a huge Undisputed clash with unified champion and local hero George Kambosos Jr in Melbourne, Australia. Haney proved himself Down Under with a masterful performance to claim a unanimous decision win and become Americas latest Undisputed king. In the rematch with Kambosos four months later, also in Melbourne, he showed the first result was far from a flash in the pan, as he repeated the feat to claim another lopsided decision and prove once and for all who the man to beat at 135lbs truly is. Now, Haney will encounter the toughest test of his outstanding career to date, but he will be supremely confident that youth will prevail over experience, and he can produce the standout victory of his career.
"Lomachenko is a good fighter and future Hall of Fame candidate," Haney said.
"I take nothing away from him or what he has done in the sport of boxing.
"Although he didn't give me a shot when I challenged him in 2019, I won't be petty. This is the fight the fans really want, and I made it happen. I've gotten two times better since the Kambosos rematch, and believe it or not, the better my opponent is, the better I perform.
"I can't wait for this fight. I know Lomachenko has an extremely high boxing IQ, and I will show the world on May 20 that I'm the best fighter on the planet. I'm ready to defend my undisputed title in devastating fashion."