George Kambosos Jr. 20-1 (10 KOs) is not the type to shy away from a challenge – that’s what made Australia fall in love with the 28-year-old.
But that challenge was too much on Sunday as American Devin Haney maintained his unbeaten record 28-0 (15 KO’s), defeating Kambosos Jr. and becoming the undisputed lightweight champion.
Haney picked up a unanimous decision win (116-112, 116-112, 118-110), becoming the first lightweight contender to take home the WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC belts and the youngest in the Story.
Kambosos Jr. has a rematch clause, with the sequel set to take place again in Australia.
The interest of the Australian public is clearly high, with 41,129 in attendance at Marvel Stadium – the second largest attendance for a bout in modern Australian boxing history.
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“It’s a dream come true,” Haney said after the fight.
“We [him and his father Bill] both dreamed of it. I just stuck to the game plan. I skipped the last lap knowing I was comfortably ahead, but I put up a good intelligent fight.
“I hampered him in his best gear, he wanted to land an overhand right hand and a big left hook. I take my hat off to him, he is a true warrior. Even if he has become disrespectful [during the build-up]I have remained a gentleman and a professional.
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Kambosos’ noble reaction after a heartbreaking loss
“A lot of these so-called champions didn’t want to give me my chance, but George was a true champion.”
Kambosos Jr. was stylish in his post-fight interview, refusing to “destroy” Haney’s moment like Teofimo Lopez did after their fight last year by claiming he won.
“He was boxing, not wanting to get into the fight too much, but that’s his game,” Kambosos Jr. said.
“I’m going to change a few things and later this year it will be different. I didn’t have to fight him, but I immediately gave him a chance.
“It [the righ hand] landed a few times but he had a smart game plan and did what he had to do to win. Today they gave him the decision but I’m sure that will change if we do it again.”
The first round was relatively uneventful, with Haney throwing some early jabs before Kambosos Jr. tried to land a left-hand counterattack.
The Aussie landed a right and a jab but couldn’t do much damage.
“We have a chess game at the moment,” Barry Michael said in comment for main event.
Haney impressed with “lightning jabs,” according to Michael, though UFC superstar Alexander Volkanovski credited Kambosos Jr with “staying in the pocket” when his US rival fired.
Kambosos Jr. had the highlight of round two with a big right hand that sent Haney backing away.
“That was a bomb,” Michael said in the comment.
The Aussie was able to land another left late but Haney continued to do well establishing his jab early in the fight.
Kambosos Jr.’s counterattack is one of his greatest strengths, but Michael acknowledged Haney’s dodges and Jab had put him ahead after three rounds.
“It has to be said that the jabs gave Haney the lead at that stage,” said Michael.
“The jab is the winning shot of the fight so far. I think George needs to change the pattern of the fight. The jab is a dominant factor in this fight.”
Michael suggested Kambosos Jr. go more under and try to catch Haney with a left hook as he dove down to defend, knowing the Aussie would come up with a right hand.
Haney continued to control the outside, with the jab continuing to make it difficult for Kambosos Jr. to land clean shots.
“It’s hard to break through his defence. He’s got a strong defense,” said Michael.
“He has to find a way around the jab.”
“It was clearly the Americans’ game plan all along,” added Gerard Whateley.
“Handicap Kambosos’ greatest strengths and surpass him.”
Kambosos Jr. needed a big punch to get the momentum into the final rounds.
“The end of this round, that’s what I want to see from George to keep the pressure on,” said Michael.
“He really needs to up the ante.”
That message was shared by Kambosos Jr.’s corner, who urged him to ‘make Haney uncomfortable’.
Easier said than done, however, as Haney was on a different level for the rest of the fight while continuing to control distance and keep Kambosos Jr. from throwing any combinations.
The Aussie went deep into the final rounds and refused to give up, but the American was just too good, with superior defense and an overall boxing masterclass.
“It’s a rare feat for an American to come onto Australian soil and win the titles, but he repeated that piece of history,” Whateley said.
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FULL MAPS & RESULTS
From 11am AEST
Devin Haney defeated. George Kambosos Jr. by unanimous decision – WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and The Ring lightweight world titles
Jason Moloney defeated. Aston Palicte by R3 TKO – Bantamweight
Defeated Lucas Browne. Junior Fa by R1 TKO – Heavyweight
Hemi Ahio defeated. Christian Tsoye by TKO (corner failure after R1) – Heavyweight
Defeated David Nyika. Karim Maatalla by unanimous decision – cruiserweight
Starting at 9:30am AEST.
Terry Nickolas drew against Lachlan Higgins (majority draw 57-57 x2, 58-56 Higgins) – super welterweight
Taylah Robertson defeated. Sarah Higginson by unanimous decision – super flyweight
Yoel defeated Angeloni. Ken Aitken by unanimous decision – welterweight
Pom Thanawut defeated Phetkum. Hussein Fayad – super featherweight
Isaias Sette vs. Luke Gersbeck – four rounds at super welterweight
Fight after the Main Event
Andrew Moloney vs. Alexander Espinoza – eight rounds at super flyweight
Amari Jones vs. Ankush Hooda – six rounds super welterweight
MOLONEY MAKES “BIG STEP” TO WORLD TITLE SHOT
Earlier, Australia’s Jason Moloney made a crucial stop on lap three when he caught Aston Palicte with a right hand to get closer to a world title shot.
The win puts Moloney in the frame for a third shot at the bantamweight title, with the Australian describing it as “one of the best moments of his life” after the fight.
“He’s taking a big, big step towards another shot at the world title,” Warren Smith said in the commentary main event.
“What a moment for him. It was a dream to fight here on this map today.”
“What an end. That was incredible,” added Jeff Fenech.
“Great performance by Jason Moloney.”
Australian UFC superstar Alexander Volkanovski said Moloney proved he was “world class” and “one of the best” with the win.
It was Moloney’s third straight win since a seventh-round stoppage loss to WBA/IBF Bantamweight Champion Naoya Inoue in October 2020.
The win improves the Australian’s record to 24-2 (19 KOs).
BIG DADDY’S BIG KO
Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne has shown he’s not ready to retire just yet after scoring a devastating first-round TKO win over highly-rated Kiwi Junior Fa.
Browne, 43, shook his opponent with a heavy shot, and although Fa, 32, somehow managed to keep going, it was only a matter of second place before being knocked down again.
The win came after Browne was knocked down by Paul Gallen in April. He was again a $13 underdog Fa who had only lost one fight before.