The undisputed lightweight championship will be on the line on May 20 when Devin Haney defends his four world titles against former unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. The bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Top Rank Boxing announced on Tuesday.
The bout was the expected next step for Haney after he successfully defended his title in a rematch with George Kambosos Jr. in October 2022. Haney won his status as undisputed in his first fight with Kambosos, a fight he received when Lomachenko was forced out of a bout with Kambosos due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In October 2020, Lomachenko faced off with Teofimo Lopez in a bout to unify the four recognized world titles at lightweight. Lopez won in a mild upset before eventually dropping the belts to Kambosos.
Loma & Haney share the ring post-fight 👀 pic.twitter.com/dA039ms7py— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 30, 2022
Lomachenko now gets a second crack at becoming undisputed after ripping off three wins since the loss to Lopez. Lomachenko's 2021 saw him make light work of legitimate lightweight talent in Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey, proving he remained one of the top fighters in the world at 135 pounds.
2022 was not as easy. After defending his home country from the Russian invasion, Lomachenko struggled to take a narrow decision against Jamaine Ortiz. Whether the tepid performance against Ortiz was a result of time catching up with the 35-year-old or simply ring rust coupled with months of dealing with a horrific war in Ukraine remains to be seen.
The King’s Gambit.— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 28, 2023
#HaneyLoma | Tickets on sale March 31 pic.twitter.com/pIiuska1Bw
Haney is looking to further lock down the lightweight division while also proving a point against Lomachenko. Haney first became WBC lightweight champion in 2019, being promoted from interim champion when Lomachenko was elevated to franchise champion instead of facing Haney, whose interim title made him the mandatory challenger for Lomachenko's belt.
"Devin Haney is the sport's brightest young superstar, and he's taking on a tremendous challenge against one of this generation's best pound-for-pound fighters in Vasiliy Lomachenko. This is what boxing is all about," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a statement. "Devin and Loma are sensational boxers, and I'm sure it will be a memorable fight."
Haney not winning the title in the ring led to him being labeled an "email champion" by some fans and other fighters, a label he emphatically shed with his two one-sided drubbings of Kambosos.