It’s official: Australia’s lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jr will take on American Devin Haney in the biggest fight the country has ever seen when the pair clash at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on June 5.
The bout will see Kambosos risk his WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring titles with Haney putting his WBC strap on the line in front of an anticipated 50,000 fans.
It will be the 28-year-old Aussie’s first fight since he shocked the boxing world by defeating Teofimo Lopez for the four belts at New York’s Madison Square Garden last November, and his first bout in Australia since 2017.
Kambosos and his manager and father Jim celebrate his upset win over Teofimo Lopez in New York last year. They’re certain of repeating the scenes in Melbourne on June 5
Devin Haney with his WBC world lightweight title belt. He has beaten big names in Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Junior in the lead-up to his scrap with the Aussie
Haney, whose record stands at 27-0, will be a stern test for Kambosos, whose first choice for his title defences was superstar and former pound-for-pound champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
However, Lomachenko chose to stay in his native Ukraine and help fight the Russian invasion – a decision Kambosos respected and supported.
Haney is coming off high-profile wins against Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Junior.
The clash was announced on Friday morning at a press conference at Marvel, with Eddie McGuire controlling proceedings as Haney appeared on video from America.
‘These belts will be staying right here,’ Kambosos said in his opening comments.
‘This is the biggest fight of the year by far,’ Haney said. ‘There will be a king of the lightweight division and it will be me.’
Kambosos stunned the boxing world when he convincingly beat Teofimo Lopez (pictured) at Madison Square Garden last November as an almost unbackable underdog
Kambosos Jr takes on the world’s top jockey, James McDonald, in an exhibition bout to promote The Championships horse races at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse on April 2 and 9. The lightweight king faces a real test when he meets Haney in Melbourne
Kambosos set tensions off when he referred to the American as a ‘kid’, leading Haney to reply, ‘Stop calling me a kid. I’m a man and I will show him that in the ring.
‘Respect me as a man.’
Kambosos’ comeback was short and sharp: ‘Show me.’
The pair then got into a war of words over whether Kambosos chose Haney or was reluctant to fight him and only did so because Lomachenko is unavailable.
‘You were chosen, boy. You were chosen, you were forced into this position,’ Kambosos said.
‘I knew I could beat you,’ Haney shot back. ‘I’ll fight you in your backyard if I have to and I’ll show you.’
Vasiliy Lomachenko, until recently regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, was Kambosos’ first choice opponent but he elected to remain in his native Ukraine and help fight the Russian invasion
Kambosos knocked Lopez down with a huge right hand in the first round, but had to survive getting knocked down himself on his way to making Australian boxing history
Bob Arum, a colossus of boxing promotions and the CEO of the Top Rank group, said he is anticipating a stellar contest.
‘George showed me a lot more ability than I thought he had (in the win over Lopez) and how it is appropriate we match George with a fighter who will give him a tremendous battle.
‘Haney is a phenomenon, he is one of if not the leading lightweight in the world. You’re going to see the best of American boxing.’
Melbourne’s huge Greek community is a major reason the Kambosos camp wanted to stage the bout in the city instead of Sydney.
Marvel’s closed roof was another big drawcard for the Aussie’s company, Ferocious Promotions.
Australia has hosted some huge fights before, but the Marvel bout should top them all.
Jeff Horn’s victory over Manny Pacquiao at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium was watched by more than 50,000 in July 2017, and Jeff Fenech’s loss to Azumah Nelson in their highly anticipated rematch at Melbourne’s Princes Park drew 40,000 in March 1992.
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