Devin Haney has emerged as one of the new faces of boxing. A fighter who turned pro as a teenager in 2015, built himself up on the smaller stages and now will look to defend all four of his lightweight titles and the undisputed crown against Vasiliy Lomachenko, on ESPN+ pay-per-view, on May 20th, from the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Haney’s rise has been a modern journey that has balanced aspects of social media, boxing talent, being affiliated with a-list celebrities, and much more. Haney, who also has his own promotional company, Devin Haney Promotions, is one of the most multi-faceted modern boxers of the era.
One of the first internet boxing celebs
Haney’s first major influence never came from the ring itself. Haney built up a whole eco-system around himself involving investing in himself instead having a promoter invest in him. Haney took the initiative to travel to Mexico and fight similar if not the same opponents he would’ve in developmental bouts to establish his record.
His means to get national attention, are YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Reaching to those who connected with him, as he went from a dreamer to a world champion in many young adults lives. People grew up with the ascent of Haney’s rise, something now a lot of people try to duplicate.
Haney also was the first fight I can remember to film sparring and put it on the internet, which now has become a whole thing in the modern era.
E-mail champion, signs with Matchroom
In 2018, Devin Haney began to get his career going in the United States as Haney was fighting frequently on ShoBox: The Next Generation. In May 2019, Haney made his debut with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing against Antonio Moran, who he knocked out.
This would set the stage for his fight against Zaur Abdullaev for the interim WBC lightweight world champion. Haney would stop Abdullaev and become the interim WBC champion as he called out Vasiliy Lomachenko on every occasion.
In October of that year, Haney was promoted to become the full-on WBC lightweight world champion, after Lomachenko was named the WBC lightweight “franchise” champion. Lomachenko had defeated Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title, but it was via a press release that the world found out about Haney being elevated.
As expected this caused some cynics to give Haney quite a bit of grief.
The biggest test of Haney’s career was facing former world champion, Jorge Linares. Though Linares was an older version of himself, he still was extremely dangerous and powerful. Linares had dropped Lomachenko in their fight previously and hurt Haney at the end of the tenth round. Though Haney won the fight via unanimous decision, his ability to stall the action in the fight caused a lot of displeasure. This was the first true world-level test that Haney passed. After this fight, a video clip emerged of Devin Haney asking Linares if he hit hard which has also been a tentpole moment in Haney’s career.
After being rumored to face Ryan Garcia, and having Garcia pull out of a bout with him, Joseph Diaz Jr., the former world champion and U.S. Olympian was next for Devin Haney. Prior to the bout being announced the two would argue on the internet. Previously, Diaz was going to fight for Garcia’s WBC interim title, but by fighting Haney he now was fighting for the WBC world title.
Haney won the fight on activity, but not unlike the Linares fight, some questions still lingered. After the fight, Haney called out the undisputed lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jnr, as at this time, we had Haney’s version of the WBC title, and then Kambosos Jnr defeated Teofimo Lopez to win the more widely recognized belt, that Lopez had won from defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Kambosos Fight, Undisputed
Haney became a star in 2022 as he flew to Australia twice, and soundly outpointed George Kambosos Jnr. The first fight was one of legend. The odds were close as many saw it as a pick’em fight, yet it was far from that. Kambosos Jnr couldn’t get past Haney’s jab.
The fight that was broadcast globally as a major fight, and in Australia as a pay-per-view, saw the second fight with Kambosos Jnr get little attention based on the dominance of Haney.