Devin Haney of the United States became the undisputed WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF Lightweight World Champion on Saturday when he defeated Boxing legend Vasyl Lomachenko in a unanimous decision. The fight was a technical back-and-forth affair that saw both fighters have their moments in the ring. Devin Haney started fast and controlled the first half of the fight. Lomachenko, as he usually does, sat back and waited until the later rounds to really begin turning up the heat. In what turned out to be the most pivotal final rounds, Devin Haney countered Lomachenko's onslaught with his powerful body shots. Haney credits the body shots to being the key that gave him the edge in the end.
Devin Haney defeats Vasiliy Lomachenko by 12RD unanimous decision; 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 on the judge’s scorecards 🇺🇸 #HaneyLoma | #Boxingpic.twitter.com/nOIWZo0TMW
— RINGOFHIGHLIGHTS (@ringofhighlight) May 21, 2023
“He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans. … He turns it up in the championship rounds. I just have to take my hat off to him.” Haney gave credit to his opponent acknowledging him as one of the best ever, but wasn't surprised that his tactics worked out for him. In fact, Haney and his team had a very specific game plan heading into this fight and they made the most of what they saw in the ring.
“The body work won me the fight, so I knew I had to invest in that body,” he said. “We watched a lot of tape on Loma. He wasn't the biggest fan of body shots, so we stuck to the game plan, breaking him down.”
Devin Haney controlled the fight for most of the opening rounds with his longer reach, but Lomachenko continued to work and wouldn't go away easy. Around the fifth round, Lomachenko started to turn the intensity up and began to pressure Haney. Haney, following his game plan, would stick Lomachenko with an intermittent body shot, eventually halting his momentum each time. Haney explained, “He would have some good moments during the round, but he wasn't finishing the whole round strong because we invested in the body.”
The decision wasn't as clear to those watching at home, however. Davin Haney was faced with a pro-Lomachenko crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and had to overcome their massive cheers whenever Lomachenko would land. Vasyl Lomachenko certainly had his moments during the fight and had Devin Haney hurt on a few occasions. Fans watching believed that Lomachenko did enough to get the win and that a unanimous decision for Haney was robbery of the highest degree. Haney's rival, Shakur Stevenson, agreed with the fans.
SHAKUR STEVENSON CALLS OUT DEVIN HANEY & REACTS TO HIM BEATING LOMACHENKO: "IT WAS A ROBBERY", #Boxing #HaneyLoma pic.twitter.com/02Dx7TiiBP
— Syéd Sâlmän (@Salmantheboxing) May 21, 2023
‘This is why people don’t watch boxing anymore’: Pros react to Devin Haney’s controversial win over Vasiliy Lomachenko https://t.co/2bHFVPni0C pic.twitter.com/fRI7OKAey7
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 21, 2023
Becoming the undisputed Number 1 fighter in the world at Lightweight, Haney will undoubtedly make some career moves following this win. He believes that he should be the new pound-for-pound king in boxing and it's hard to disagree against his perfect 30-0 record. As for the future, Devin Haney says he has a lot to think about.
“I've been at 135 [pounds] for a long, long time,” said Haney. “This is my 30th fight. I've been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We're going to go back to the lab and figure out what's next.”
As for Vasyl Lomachenko, he appeared very emotional following the loss and it's uncertain whether he will consider retirement in the near future. One thing's for sure: Vasyl Lomachenko is still one of the best boxers in the world and could have won this fight had a few more things gone his way. A retirement from the sport would certainly be untimely, but Lomachenko has done everything inside the ring to prove himself as one of the greats.
Who do you think won this fight?