'Ready to go': Devin Haney interview
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images & Araya Diaz/Getty Images for DailyMail.com
As he prepares for his next fight, lightweight Devin Haney talks world title ambitions, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko and much more...
Lightweight Devin Haney is one of boxing’s youngest ever promoters as well as one of the most highly rated prospects in world boxing today.
At only 20 years of age Haney has propelled himself into contention for world titles after just 21 fights, all ending in victories for ‘The Dream’.
“I’m originally from San Francisco, California" he tells BM. "Where I come from wasn’t the best place but my parents tried to keep me away from the streets and, you know, the streets and the bad stuff. I’m not saying my childhood was real bad or anything like that.
"Then we moved to Vegas but it was still a bad area. When I first came to Vegas I had some problems there because everything was different from California. That’s kind of how I got into boxing due to the problems there, my dad took me to the gym because I got into a fight at school.”
Turning professional at the tender age of 17 Haney was just a boy in a gladiator's sport filled with men. Undeterred and with nothing left to achieve in the amateurs and money to be earned in the professional ranks Haney started his journey.
“When they took the headgear off at the Olympics they changed the age to 19. So either I was gonna wait until the 2020 Olympics or I’m gonna turn pro and start making money and that’s what I did.”
Two years after his debut Haney started a new venture and Devin Haney Promotions was born. The aim was to ensure financial security for himself whilst also bringing boxing to California with the help of his father William Haney and world famous referee Joe Cortez in a consultancy role. Now Haney has also secured an association with Eddie Hearn, Matchroom USA and DAZN.
“I felt like the first couple of deals I were offered wasn’t worth it and I thought if they are offering me that when I’m 0-0 what will they offer when I’m 10-0 or 20-0?" Haney explains. "100 per cent it’s put myself in a better position and it’s got me into the position I am in right now. Coming out of the amateurs I wasn’t able to fight on the big shows early but timing's everything and my time is now.
“Eddie has been a class act. He’s welcomed me with open arms - Matchroom and DAZN everything has been great. I’m blessed to be signed to Matchroom and DAZN. It’s a co-promotion so we’re working together. I definitely have the machine behind me so it will push me and Devin Haney Promotions to the next level.”
Haney is arguably one of boxing’s hottest prospects and he could be on a collision course with another highly touted youngster in Teofimo Lopez.
After hearing rumours of Lopez stopping Haney in sparring circulated the latter is keen to put a stop to such speculation.
“I met Teofimo in the amateurs at a lot of tournaments," he says. "We sparred I wanna say a year ago, he claimed that he stopped me but wasn’t the way that the sparring went at all. He is a good fighter, he has been looking good in his fights. I wish him nothing but the best, we will meet when the time is right. He’s making noise in boxing and so am I, it’s a fight that has to happen!”
It’s also fight that could end up being for the WBC world lightweight title in the future. Haney is sure he is next in line for a shot at the title recently vacated by Mikey Garcia which will most likely be fought for between Luke Campbell and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“To tell you the truth I think this is the year that I will win a world title," haney announces. "I’m in the top ten of all the sanctioning bodies now so if everything goes right I should be fighting for the mandatory spot, then I’ll get that title shot and win it.
"I think we’re very close to it happening. The only thing stopping it is the WBC. What we’re trying to do is make it the next fight. 2019 is going to be a big year for me, it’s my breakout year. It’s the year I become a world champion.”
Should Lomachenko walk away with the win against Campbell it would be a mammoth task for Haney as many feel the Ukrainian is not only top dog at 135lbs but also currently top of the pound-for-pound rankings.
It's an assumption Haney dismisses.
“Who said he’s the best in the division?! He’s not undisputed, there are still other champions in the weight class he hasn’t fought, with the likes of Richard Commey now. So you can’t say you’re the best in the division.”
After scooping the WBC international lightweight title in his last bout Haney got ten rounds under his belt against previously undefeated Xolisani Ndongeni. Although pleased with the win, Haney is also his own biggest critic.
“I’ve watched the fight a few times," he says. "I feel like I could’ve gone to the body earlier but you know I’m still learning on the job. I’m happy with my performance.”
This Saturday, 25 May, Haney defends the international title against the tall and rangy Mexican Antonio Moran. It is a fight that Devin is relishing as an American vs Mexican battle with the winner in pole position to face off against potentially a unified world champion.
“I know that he’s going to come to fight, he’s a tough opponent. He put up a good fight with Jose Pedraza, they know that if they beat me they are well placed to fight for a world title so I’m not taking anyone lightly, I’m focused.
“This has been a really good training camp. We started camp in the Bay Area training with Victor Conte and sparring Amir Khan. I was able to get some elite work with not only him but Mike Dallas as well.
"I started off strong at the beginning of camp, and when I moved camp back to Las Vegas, I was sharp. I just wrapped up my final sparring session before we leave for Maryland. I've put the work in, and my body feels great. I'm ready to go.”