MELBOURNE: American Devin Haney kept his unbeaten record intact Sunday by battering Australian George Kambosos in a rematch to remain undisputed lightweight world champion.
The highly-rated 23-year-old successfully defended his WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO belts at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena in a unanimous points decision with one judge scoring the bout 119-109 in his favour, with the other two both having it 118-110.
Haney now looks set for a fight next with two-time Olympic champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“I went in with the jab but also wanted to show other tools in my arsenal,” said San Francisco-born Haney after pummeling Kambosos, who did well to still be there after 12 rounds.
“When I first came out I couldn’t interact but I caught up with his timing and I started picking my shots.
“He’s a player, I take my hat off to George Kambosos,” he added.
Haney is only the eighth boxer to hold all four belts from the major sanctioning bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO – at the same time.
He beat Kambosos unanimously in June to achieve the feat and become the first undisputed lightweight champion in modern boxing history, since Pernell Whitaker in 1990, and the first in the four-belt era, which began in 2004.
A rematch was in his contract and he again used his sensational speed, instinct and relentless left jab, but this time also deployed big right-hand blows that left the Australian a bloodied mess.
Victory in the 135-pound limit fight stretched Haney’s phenomenal record to 29-0 with 15 KOs, while inflicting only the second defeat on Kambosos who is now 21-2.
The Australian suggested before the fight he could retire if he lost and the chances of him getting another world title crack now appear slim.
But he put an end to retirement talk after the fight.
“He’s a great fighter. He gave me a boxing lesson the first time but I came here and gave it my all. It is what it is,” he said. “It’s not the end, I’ll be back,” added Kambosos.
On a bumper undercard, two-time world title challenger Jason Moloney of Australia beat Thailand’s Nawaphon Kaikanha in the final eliminator for the WBC bantamweight title, winning with a unanimous verdict.
A second world title fight saw Australia’s women’s IBF super-bantamweight champion Cherneka Johnson defend her title.
Despite a deep cut that left her covered in blood, she beat Australian former two-time world belt-holder Susie Ramadan, also in a unanimous decision.