George Kambosos and Devin Haney have struck a deal for a June 5 fight for the undisputed lightweight championship at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Top Rank announced on Thursday.
The bout will take place Sunday afternoon in Australia to accommodate a June 4 prime-time broadcast in the United States on ESPN.
Haney, a 23-year-old rising star from Las Vegas, has competed on DAZN for Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing during his past six fights, but his deal expired. Haney signed a multifight co-promotional deal with Top Rank and Lou DiBella to fight exclusively on ESPN platforms, sources told ESPN.
The deal includes a rematch clause if Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) wins, sources said. In the event Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) loses and exercises his right to a return bout, that fight also would take place in his native Australia. Even if Haney loses, his next bout afterward would be co-promoted by Top Rank and DiBella.
Kambosos, who holds all four major sanctioning body titles at 135 pounds, needed an opponent for the first defense of his championship after Vasiliy Lomachenko decided to remain in war-torn Ukraine rather than head to Australia for training camp.
Lomachenko had agreed to a deal before Russia invaded Ukraine. After officials involved were informed Monday that Lomachenko was out, talks resumed with DAZN for a Kambosos-Haney bout.
DiBella, who promotes Kambosos, couldn't reach a deal with DAZN to stream the bout so he pivoted to ESPN, this time with Haney as the opponent.
Kambosos, 28, defeated Teofimo Lopez in November to capture four titles in ESPN's Upset of the Year. The fight was brutal from the opening bell; Kambosos dropped Lopez in Round 1 but was forced to survive a 10th-round knockdown en route to the split-decision victory.
The Australian is rated No. 1 by ESPN at lightweight, but he'll be installed as an underdog once again. Haney, ESPN's No. 4 boxer at 135 pounds, broke out in 2021 with decision victories over former champions Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Jr. in May and December, respectively.
The smooth-boxing Haney isn't a power puncher but possesses an excellent jab and is regarded as one of the sport's best defensive fighters.
Kambosos wasn't well-regarded before he earned a title shot with a split-decision win over Lee Selby in October 2020. Even then, he was viewed as a routine title defense against Lopez, then seen as one of the sport's top pound-for-pound boxers.
But Kambosos shocked the boxing world with his grit, combination punching and power in one of the best performances of 2021.
Adding intrigue to the fight is the debate regarding the WBC title. Kambosos won the IBF, WBO, WBA titles and the WBC franchise title from Lopez. Haney is the holder of the WBC's title as well.
While many regard Kambosos as an undisputed champion, there are also those who believe Haney has a legitimate claim to his own WBC title. Haney was elevated from interim titleholder to WBC champion while Lomachenko was designated franchise champ. Loma then lost the titles to Lopez in October 2020 before Lopez was defeated by Kambosos.
If Haney can defeat Kambosos twice, there will be plentiful options for him on ESPN. He's discussed a jump to 140 pounds in the near future, where he could be matched with Lopez. But if remains at 135, a high-stakes showdown with Lomachenko is possible in 2023, as is a fight with Ryan Garcia.
But first, Haney will travel halfway around the world for his shot at lightweight supremacy.