What’s next for Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko?
Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko put on a battle for the undisputed lightweight championship on May 20.
It was a close and competitive affair that could have justifiably gone either way. Throughout the fight, Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) boxed well with single jabs and body shots, while Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) got the better of most of the exchanges. The Compubox punch stats tell just how close it was – Haney outlanded Lomachenko in five rounds, Lomachenko outlanded Haney in five, and there were two rounds even. Even among the two even rounds, the pair split higher accuracies.
What’s next for Vasiliy Lomachenko?
The 35-year-old veteran turned back the clock, and certainly looked better than he had against Teofimo Lopez and arguably Jamaine Ortiz as well. He had the younger, bigger man in trouble in Rounds 10 and 11, but unlike his bout with Lopez, Lomachenko was very much in the fight in the early stretches as well.
During the post-fight press conference, Lomachenko’s manager Egis Klimas expressed a desire to challenge the decision, with promoter Bob Arum agreeing that the decision should have gone to Lomachenko.
“This is the biggest robbery in the middle of the day,” Klimas said. “For the other team, Christmas came in the summer, and we’re not going to let this go. I guarantee we are going to protest; I guarantee we are going to appeal the decision.”
This is not likely to be successful, however, as much more controversial fights – such as Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn and Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall – have survived such challenges.
However, with a lengthy amateur career behind him (almost 400 bouts, most at the highest level), Lomachenko’s window for winning the undisputed championship at lightweight may have closed. Bill Haney, Devin’s father and trainer, did not express interest in a rematch, and there was no rematch clause for this fight. Klimas accepted this fact at the press conference.
There are potential lucrative bouts for Lomachenko at lightweight, such as Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) and Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), but those two are likely to pursue Haney as Haney holds the belts. Should Haney abdicate the belts and move up to junior welterweight, Lomachenko may get one last shot at one of the vacant major titles.
But Lomachenko has little difficulty making 135, and it is possible that he could move back down to 130, where he previously held the WBO title. Lomachenko was asked about this in the post fight interview, but declined to answer.
“Right now, I want to come back home,” Lomachenko said. “Support my country, support my Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
The four major belts at junior lightweight are currently split between four fighters — Hector Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs), O’Shaquie Foster (20-2, 11 KOs), Joe Cordina (16-0, 9 KOs), and Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs).
What’s next for Devin Haney?
Currently, it appears as though the sky’s the limit for “The Dream.” Haney does not appear interested in a rematch with Lomachenko, although he made the 135-pound limit without difficulty, and thus the window is still open for significant fights at lightweight for Haney. The aforementioned Stevenson and Davis loom at lightweight, and Haney expressed interest in fighting them both. In fact, Stevenson and Haney apparently exchanged words in the ring.
“I let him know that I’m number one, and he said ‘for now,’” Haney said at the post-fight press conference. “I’ve been very vocal about fighting Shakur – we’re on a collision course.”
But Haney is still big for a lightweight, and a move up in weight is in his future, according to him it’s just a matter of when. He entertained fighting Stevenson – who felt Lomachenko clearly beat Haney – at a higher weight.
“There’s a lot of big fights at 135-pound division, you got to see what’s next,” Haney said. “I’m huge for the weight… I’ve been at 135 since I was 16 years old.”
Should Haney move up, the 140-pound division was split wide open when Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) vacated (or was stripped of) three of his four sanctioning body belts following the controversial win over Jack Catterall. Current junior welterweight world titleholders are Taylor (The Ring/WBO), Regis Prograis (WBC), Subriel Matias (IBF) and Rolando Romero (WBA).
Of course, fans could also be treated to the clash that never was – Teofimo Lopez against Devin Haney – if Lopez beats Taylor next month. Their talked-about showdown had been looming before George Kambosos Jr. upset Lopez in 2021.