Haneys hoping for family affair

Devin Haney challenges Regis Prograis on Saturday aware that he could be fighting for the last time in front of his grandmother Renee.

At the Chase Center at San Francisco he contests the WBC super lightweight title on the occasion of his first fight at 140lbs, where regardless of Prograis’ status as champion he is the favourite to win.

He spoke about his grandmother’s struggles with cancer in the build-up to his victory in May over Vasyl Lomachenko, which proved his last at 135lbs, and less than a month ago there were concerns that she would still not be around to watch – whether in person or remotely – Saturday’s fight.

Renee is the 73-year-old mother of Devin’s father, trainer and manager Bill. Where only a week ago the challenger was confident she would be present at his first fight in the city of his birth, Bill is not necessarily convinced that she will. 

“She’s doing better,” Bill Haney told ProBox TV. “It’s given us the motivation – my mum has always been our rock, you know what I mean? She’s been our provider; our educator; we’re doing this one for her for sure.

“She will hopefully – God willing – she will be here [at the fight].

“Something like this – anytime you have family [struggling], especially a mum, a grandmother, you know what I mean? This has brought us closer, and we’re definitely doing this one for her.

“It would mean a lot [for Devin to win in front of her]. Unfortunately it could mean that it could be her last fight. Allah knows best. Each one is important.

“I hope [she will be here for Christmas]. It’s day to day.

“It started with lung cancer and then she got a tumour in her brain, and stuff like that.

“It’s always important to us, because with an illness like my mum has, I’d hate for it to be her last [fight].”

Bill Haney has previously spoken of how difficult he found the realisation that he had “broken her heart” when aged 22 he was imprisoned for 40 months for possession and conspiracy to distribute two kilograms of cocaine.

Asked if he had attempted to shield his son from the news of her condition, in an attempt to ensure he would be fully focused, he said: “No, he doesn’t really like me to not give him the news when I get it.

“No [I’m not concerned about him being distracted]. He’s living in his purpose. He’s walking in his destiny. So, you know what I mean? He’s happy.”