Devin Haney has made a decision on defending his lightweight undisputed titles or moving up a division to challenge for a new belt.
The 135lbs champ recently retained his belts against Vasily Lomachenko, and will ignore calls for a rematch to move up and face WBC 140 beltholder, Regis Prograis.
The tentative date for the fight is October 28, and Haney will be refusing to face his lightweight mandatory, Shakur Stevenson, by making the jump up.
He’s not quite ready to let Stevenson fight for the vacant belt though, so has petitioned with the WBC to keep hold of the belts even despite him competing for another of its titles. The final decision will go to a vote.
Speaking to FightHype, Haney said the time was right to move up.
“Right now I’m a free agent, everything aligned for me to become a two-division world champion against arguably the number one guy at 140. Me to showcase my skills when I’m much stronger, weight won’t be my focus around camp, I’ll be able to be comfortable and go in 100%.
I’m that kind of fighter – I want to fight the best fighters, I want to prove myself time and time again. I fought a future hall of famer in my last fight, and now I’m going up to fight another champion. It’ll be a good fight for boxing.”
He’s hopeful that the sanctioning body will grant his request to stay lightweight champ.
“Inshallah it is. God willing I can hold onto my 135 belts, go fight at 140 and come back and defend my undisputed titles.”
As for Stevenson, Haney said he should’ve accepted a 75/25 offer for the mandatory fight – one which he publicly turned down and questioned its authenticity.
The 24-year-old believes he has earned the right to hold onto his titles, and has little sympathy for the two-division champion from Newark.
“If he really believed himself and trusted in his skills, he would’ve took it [the 25% offer] … That’s what you’ve got to do to become the man in the division, you’ve got to sacrifice.
I’ve done it. Many greats have done it. I put it all on the line to be in this position, I don’t wanna just give my belts. I want to be in the position to still defend them.”
Since the news of the Prograis talks has come out, Stevenson said he will be ‘heartbroken’ should the WBC allow Haney to keep his lightweight title.