Devin Haney doesn’t plan to leave anything to chance ahead of the type of blockbuster fight he has long craved.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight titlist will hit the road for a shot at becoming undisputed champ when he faces lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO champ George Kambosos Jr. on June 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The fight will mark the first at home for Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) in nearly five years, while the first outside of North America for the Las Vegas-based Haney (27-0, 15KOs), whose six-plus year career has been spent in the U.S. and Mexico.
Haney and his team have already mapped out a plan to minimize the regional advantage already enjoyed by his fellow unbeaten lightweight.
“We plan to come out a month in advance to Australia,” Bill Haney, Devin’s father, trainer and manager revealed during the press conference to formally announce the undisputed championship clash. “Hopefully we can get a chance to do some media and put in some work that we need, also get adjusted to the climate.
“Shout out to the Victorian government, and also Peter Kahn (Kambosos’ manager) who has offered us first class treatment to train and for us to give the people what they have been clamoring for. It’s a fight that’s gonna be settled in the ring.”
Haney turned pro at age 17, with his options limited due to most U.S. commissions requiring boxers to be at least 18 years of age under such circumstances. Haney fought six times in Tijuana over his first eleven fights, with the balance taking place in Nevada, Louisiana and Pennsylvania prior to his 18th birthday. Another four trips to Tijuana followed before fighting exclusively in the U.S. for his past twelve fights.
Sydney’s Kambosos fought exclusively in Australia through his first thirteen pro bouts before hitting the road as he transitioned from prospect to contender and eventual world champion. Kambosos has fought in the U.S., Malaysia, England and one fight in Greece, in homage to his Greek heritage.
The bulk of his traveling for two of his last three fights was spent ahead of training camp, with Kambosos flying from Australia to South Florida to join head trainer Javiel Centeno’s Sweatbox Boxing Gym. The pattern was applied to Kambosos’ championship winning twelve-round, split decision win over Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) last November 28 at Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater in New York City.
The victory came one week prior to Haney’s latest win, a competitive but clear twelve-round decision over Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz last December 4 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in his adopted Las Vegas hometown. Haney also kept it local for his previous outing, a twelve-round decision over former three-division titlist Jorge Linares last May at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Haney now goes from back-to-back hometown fights to a flight more than 8,000 miles from Las Vegas to Melbourne. The lengthy trip pales in comparison to how long Haney has dreamed of the status he will enjoy with a win on June 5.
“George has spoke about the many miles, the 8,000 miles, the journey to come over,” noted Bill Haney. “This has been a 15-year journey for Devin. The amount of time that it’s gonna take to come over, anything that George is gonna say, anything that any fans are gonna do, it won’t be anything that’s gonna disrupt him.
“We made our bones in Mexico, we graduated from small bars onto this big stage. Nothing is gonna surprise us. We look forward to performing in front of the Australian fans.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox