George Kambosos tried his heart out but Devin Haney was simply too good as he became the undisputed champion of the world.
Devin Haney is the undisputed champion of the lightweight division after a 12-round war against George Kambosos.
The 23-year-old nicknamed “The Dream” jabbed his way into the history books with a unanimous 116-112 x 2, 118-110 win, devastating a packed Marvel Stadium.
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It’s the first time the lightweight division has been united in the four-belt era and Haney is the youngest of the eight champions in any division .
Kambosos busted his guts but was simply outclassed by a better fighter. The hometown hero was magnanimous in defeat and congratulated the new champion, bringing over his belts in the ring to hand them over to Haney.
From the outset, it was like the pair knew this was going the distance and they took their time to get into the first round.
Haney landed the better of the early shots as Kambosos’ face reddened almost immediately. But the Aussie found his range and some success on the counter-attack.
Haney’s famous defensive prowess came to the fore as the pair traded heavy blows, but the young gun’s quick feet made sure he could stay out of trouble as he danced around the ring.
Haney wanted to fight at range, grabbing Kambosos any time he came near. The visitor hit the canvas in the ninth round but it was deemed a push as Kambosos looked to get physical to try and retain his status as the lightweight king.
As the fight wore on it became clear Haney was racking up the rounds, using his jab expertly.
Kambosos became desperate, knowing he needed to land a finishing blow at the death but his extravagant swings failed to find the desired target, and the judges agreed Haney was the deserving winner.
“Let him have his moment, I’ll have my moment. I’ll change a few things,” Kambosos said, as he paid tribute to his rival during the in-ring interview.
“Respect to boxing. This is what it’s all about. It’s not about protecting records.”
Kambosos already said he was looking forward to a rematch, which was written into the contract should the Aussie go down in Melbourne.
Aussie fans at Marvel Stadium booed the American national anthem that was performed before the fighters walked out to the middle, and that theme continued when Haney marched out to the sound of more jeers from the parochial home crowd.
On the other hand, Kambosos received a hero’s welcome as the stadium erupted with cheers when he walked out from the dressing room.
But Haney made good on his promise to spoil the party Down Under, refusing to let any outside noise distract him from his task as he put on a clinic.
“This is a dream come true. I knew this was a big moment,” Haney said after the triumph.
“It would have hurt me to win this without my dad so I’m glad he was here in my corner.
“I was comfortable. I was sticking to the game plan to hit and not get hit.
“I fought a smart fight.
“I handicapped him of his best things. He wanted to land the overhand right and he couldn‘t hit with me with his left hook either.
“If the next fight happens, I will be back.”
Round by round recap
It was a conservative start from both men, who started by sizing each other up. Haney landed the first punches but Kambosos hit back with a flurry late in the round.
Kambosos landed a huge right hand early in the second. “That was a bomb,” commentator Barry Michael said on Main Event. Haney wasn’t rocked too badly though and recovered to hold his ground until the bell.
Kambosos wore a heavy body shot and Haney was working into his jab nicely, following up with a combination of punches and driving Kambosos into the ropes. The Aussie copped another punch on the nose as Haney’s jabs made their mark.
Haney got underneath Kambosos’ right hand, showing sharp movement to limit the damage. But with 30 seconds left in the round, Kambosos landed his best punch so far as his right hand came to his aid.
Haney landed one on Kambosos’ chin then tagged him again as the Aussie tried to press forward. The US fighter was finding his range and controlling the fight as he ducked under a couple of more overhand rights. Haney looked slick while Kambosos missed too much.
Haney’s defence was first rate and Kambosos was struggling to penetrate. The fighters got tied up a couple of times, needing to be dragged apart by the referee before a left hook from Kambosos landed with a thud to the body of his opponent.
Kambosos kept trying to land the right hand and in one bizarre moment, rammed Haney’s mid-section with his head. Haney was dealing with the Aussie’s attack comfortably, showing lightning speed to stay out of trouble.
Haney maintained the upper hand, making Kambosos work for everything without much reward. The American was clinical, proving difficult to hit cleanly but Kambosos made solid contact with a flurry of punches as we entered the final minute of the round. The crowd intensity lifted as fans went crazy.
Kambosos stirred into action with a clean left-right, knowing time was running out to change the momentum of the fight. Haney hit the canvas but it was ruled a shove and didn’t count as a knockdown as Kambosos kept steaming forward, landing quick jabs to the body in succession.
Kambosos continued his counterattack with some body shots before a big bomb over the top clipped Haney on the shoulder, the crowd thinking at first it had rocked Haney on the chin. There was a messy moment when Kambosos was pinged for holding Haney’s arm and punching at the same time, prompting the referee to step in and issue a stern rebuke.
Kambosos kept trying to force the issue but Haney’s defence was standing up. The Aussie ate a couple of heavy blows as he walked forward before Haney found Kambosos’ chin again, then chirped the 28-year-old after the bell signalled the end of the round.
The crowd lifted for one final surge, knowing Kambosos needed to unload and look to finish the fight. He threw himself off balance with a wild left hook that missed the target as Haney withstood the final barrage.
‘Absolute garbage’: America blows up at farce
The Kambosos-Haney fight was the biggest in the world today but American fans blew up as the US broadcaster instead showed pre-taped feature pieces while fights took place in the ring.
American boxing experts hit out at ESPN for not showing all the live action as fans got their fill with other bouts at Marvel Stadium before the main event.
Moloney makes his mark
Two-time world championship contender Jason Moloney made short work of Filipino star Aston Palicte with a third round KO ahead of the Kambosos-Haney grudge match.
After fighting at close range through the opening rounds, Moloney landed the killer blow.
Moloney dropped Palicte in the third round before going for the kill with a brutal right hand.
The referee had no choice but to wave it off as the Aussie knocked his Filipino rival down once again.
Palicte was inconsolable after the fight and sat in his corner after missing his chance for a rapid rise up the ranks against the highly respected Australian.
Moloney said it was “one of the best moments of my life”.
After falling at the last hurdle twice in his world title dreams, Moloney said “I’m ready to be Australia’s next world champion”.
No one likes a draw
Terry Nickolas and Lachlan Higgins lit up the undercard of the Kambosos-Haney fight with a stunning six rounder but fans have been left fuming over a draw.
The crowd booed after the result was read out – a 58-56 to Higgins and two 57-57 cards meant it was a majority draw after a stunning fight.
The pair went at it, and it looked as though Higgins might have snatched the win in the final round when a straight right almost knocked Nickolas onto his knee.
Hopefully the lads will just be able to do it again.
Full fight card results
Post-main event bouts
Andrew Moloney vs. Alexander Espinoza – eight rounds at super-flyweight
Amari Jones vs. Ankush Hooda – six rounds at super-welterweight
Devin Haney defeated George Kambosos Jr by unanimous decision (116-112 x 2, 118-110) for WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and The Ring lightweight world titles
Bantamweight — Jason Moloney defeated via KO (round 3)
Cruiserweight — David Nyika defeated Karim Maatalla by unanimous decision (49-46×2, 48-47)
Heavyweight – Hemi Ahio defeated Christian Tsoye via TKO (corner retirement after round 1)
Heavyweight – Lucas Browne defeated Junior Fa via KO (round 1)
Super-welterweight – Terry Nickolas drew with Lachlan Higgins by majority draw (58-56 Higgins, 57-57×2)
Women’s Super-Flyweight – Taylah Robertson defeated Sarah Higginson by unanimous decision (50-45×3)
Welterweight — Yoel Angeloni defeated Ken Aitken by unanimous decision (39-37×2, 40-36)