Devin Haney proclaims himself 'fighter of the year' after one-sided win over Regis Prograis

Devin Haney insisted he deserved recognition as the “fighter of the year” after he outclassed Regis Prograis to dethrone him as WBC super lightweight champion.

On the occasion of his first fight at 140lbs, he produced perhaps his finest performance to drop Prograis in the third round and ultimately earned a unanimous decision via three scores of 120-107.

In May he recorded his most significant victory when he made the last defence of his undisputed lightweight title by defeating Vasyl Lomachenko at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. His fine performance that night was regardless undermined by the controversy that followed him being awarded the decision on an evening when many observers believed that Lomachenko had won.

There was no such controversy against Prograis, given he won every round, and regardless of his status as favourite he believes that his achievements surpass those of Naoya Inoue and Terence Crawford, similarly convincing winners over Stephen Fulton and Errol Spence.

“I should be fighter of the year,” the 25 year old said. “My father [Bill] deserves trainer of the year. When they mention the best trainers in boxing they never mention my father.”

His father, trainer and manager Bill Haney had by then already spoken similarly of his son’s achievements – “No other fighter has done what Devin has done”, he said – having also dismissed Crawford’s victory over Spence on the grounds that he believed that ahead of their undisputed welterweight title fight Spence struggled to make weight.

“Now I am able to go in there and be the real Devin Haney,” Haney Jr said of the benefits of competing in his new weight division. 

“I was leaving it all in the gym. I just showed that I got it all. Power, speed, and what I want to do

“I want to do a fight at 147, but there a lot of big fights at 140. 

“Part of the game plan [was] to handicap [Prograis]. His left hand was his bread and butter and we took it away from him

“[Post-fight] he said I was super sharp and fast. I told him ‘Thank you for the opportunity and the shot’.”

Like his father Bill, Haney hinted at a move to welterweight for his next fight. He also discussed a potential fight with Ryan Garcia – a 140lbs rival also associated with broadcasters DAZN – and explained: “The two places I want to fight is Saudi Arabia and [the Bay Area] here.”

Unusually for Haney he had been the crowd favourite – 17,000 were present at San Francisco’s Chase Center – and similarly unusually as a convincingly beaten fighter Prograis attended his post-fight press conference, where he spoke of his desire to remain at 140lbs and to win a world title for a third time.

“I am definitely not giving up,” the 34 year old said, before insisting Haney is superior to Josh Taylor, the fighter responsible for his other defeat. “Three-time [world champion] – that is my goal.

“[Haney] was better and quicker than I thought for sure.

“I trained for four months and it just wasn’t good enough. I am going to go back to the drawing board [to] get better and better.

“It was a different style. Just basically work on my footwork. I couldn’t get to him. Go back to the gym and work on my footwork.

“[But] nothing in the fight never hurt me. I never felt in trouble.”

“Looking back people didn’t know what Devin had to do to make 135,” added their promoter Eddie Hearn. “I feel like 2024, Saudi Arabia is on [the agenda] for Devin Haney.”