MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — American Devin Haney remains the undisputed lightweight boxing champion after outclassing former titleholder George Kambosos Jr. yet again in Melbourne.
Despite sustaining a cut on the right side of his face during the eighth round, the 23-year-old Haney was dominant on Sunday while claiming a unanimous points decision over the Australian. The unbeaten American has won 29 fights, 15 of them by knockout, and has unified the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring lightweight belts.
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Haney outpointed Kambosos, who claimed the four titles in an upset win over Teofino Lopez at Madison Square Garden last November, in Melbourne in June when claiming the lightweight belts for the first time.
Haney proved to be the better boxer again with another victory over Kambosos, who sustained cuts under his left eye and above his right ear which left him bloodied late in the fight.
Haney’s left jab was the difference in the first fight, but he demonstrated his versatility when using his right hand to great effect in their second meeting.
A decisive victor, Haney was awarded a 118-109 verdict by one judge, while the other two judges rated him a 118-110 victor.
“I went in there and knew he was looking to the jab. We wanted to show some more tools in my arsenal. I think the right hand won the fight tonight,” Haney said. “He is a warrior. I take my hat off to George Kambosos and all the Australians who came out.”
A second straight defeat raises questions about the future of the 29-year-old boxer known as “Ferocious” Kambosos, who fell to a 20-2 record with the loss.
Kambosos said in the lead-in to their second fight that he would retire if beaten by Haney again, though he later walked back on that statement.
He said it “was not the end” after the loss when praising Haney.
“He is a great fighter. For me, to have the guts to go again with him. He gave me a good boxing lesson in the first round,” he said. “He is a slick man. I gave my best. I tried my heart out tonight. But this guy is going to be there for a long time.
“I gave him a great challenge. A great fight over 24 rounds. He is one of the best in the world in boxing, not just this division.”
Boxing from the red corner, the Australian started the fight well, pinning his rival on the ropes with a flurry of punches shortly before the bell rang to end the first round.
But the American responded well in the following round as he started to take control.
The Las Vegas resident landed some strong punches during the third round and looked increasingly comfortable on both the offensive and defensive.
Haney managed his distance well, despite the efforts from Kambosos, using his left jab to great effect while also showing great skill with his right.
He was able to extend his lead in the fifth round despite the Sydney-based boxer landing some decent body shots. Having opened up a cut under the Australian’s left eye, Haney peppered Kambosos with a series of jabs in the seventh round.
With Jim Kambosos, the Australian’s father, urging the challenger to raise “the pressure,” he went after the titleholder with vigor in the eighth round. It was his best sequence since the latter stages of the first round, but by that stage only a knockout would be enough to secure Kambosos victory in the 12-round fight.
Sensing a possible momentum shift, the crowd at Rod Laver Arena rallied behind the Australian, who was able to open a cut on the right-hand side of Haney’s face. But Haney responded by re-asserting his superiority.