WBC Lightweight champion Devin Haney handily dominated former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa via UD to retain his title and pass his toughest challenge live on DAZN
HOLLYWOOD, Florida (November 7, 2020) — Undefeated WBC Lightweight champion Devin Haney finally made it back to the ring in 2020. He entered the toughest fight of his career stating his objective to match the recent exploits of his young peers Teofimo Lopez and Gervonta Davis. And to raise the bar for Ryan Garcia ahead of his fight against the UK’s Luke Campbell next month.
Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) didn’t quite outdo Lightweight unified champion Lopez or WBA Super Featherweight champion Davis in either of their recent wins. However, he did dominate Yuriorkis Gamboa for nearly all 12 rounds of his title defense against the 38-year old.
Haney hadn’t been in the ring in 363 days. He didn’t look like it. The young champion started quickly and fought sharply against an unusually durable Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs). By the fight’s midway point Gamboa was flustered, and he’d taken some powerful punches from a fighter 17 years his junior.
Haney displayed all his world class talent, and it’s clear few fighters possess superior boxing skills. He didn’t beat Gamboa up worst than any previous opponent, but he had an answer for every question the Cuban attempted to ask. The champion entered the championship rounds still looking for an explosive ending, but in the end settled for a wide unanimous decision.
Haney won his second championship fight with his dominant performance which streamed live on DAZN from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The loss dropped Gamboa to a two-fight skid after four consecutive wins following a seventh round TKO loss to Robinson Castellanos in May 2017.
Haney worked steadily, but in a measured fashion, through the two opening rounds. He jabbed sharply with his height and reach. Gamboa looked for his opportunities, but accepted engaging from Haney’s preferred range.
The action picked up early in Round 3. Haney’s quick step back made matters complicated for the smaller, shorter-armed Gamboa. Haney’s patience lowered somewhat, but he landed a booming right hand inside to go along with a big left hand from the round before.
In Round 4 Haney continued to press forward and set up short attacks. Haney started to build up a number of telling power punches while Gamboa’s offense remained mostly in neutral. The Cuban’s frustration started to become visible.
The two spent the early part of Round 5 near the center of the ring. Gamboa stood closer, but he continued to be beaten to the punch. Gamboa landed a glancing right hand to Haney’s chin in the final minute. Haney responded with a check left hook seconds before the bell.
Gamboa opened Round 6 looking to capitalize on his best round to that point. He through some big shots and the younger Haney continued to step away before anything landed cleanly. Haney was still the sharper and quicker fighter. He landed the best punch in most exchanges to underscore his superior placement.
In Round 7 Haney set up some thudding left hooks with his younger legs. He turned with one and lunged forward with the other. Gamboa stepped forward and popped Haney with a stiff jab as the young champion misread the Cuban’s move. The moment was one of Haney’s few missteps after fighting cleanly over the bout’s first half.
Haney teed off on Gamboa with a big left hook halfway through Round 8. Gamboa held Haney excessively throughout the middle part of the round. Both fighters landed scoring blows over the final minute, but Haney landed the bigger shot with a flush right hand.
Gamboa answered the ninth round with a high guard. Haney jabbed and attacked. Gamboa was back operating from the outside over the second half of the round, but success was limited.
Haney carved up Gamboa throughout Round 10. Several jabs snapped back Gamboa’s head. The Cuban struggled to find any rhythm.
Very little changed for Gamboa to open the championship rounds. Referee Tellis Assimenios finally followed up on his warnings to Gamboa about holding. The 1-point deduction only padded the lost of another round.
Haney laced Gamboa with a series of left hooks, some quick body work and then a right hand in first minute of the final frame. Gamboa remained in the pocket. He made the fight ugly in the second minute, and Haney continued to search for a knockdown. That type of moment never came over final 45-60 seconds, but the 21-year old passed his toughest challenge with ease.
The performance didn’t conclude in the fashion Haney expressed during fight week, but the young champion received extremely high marks from the judges. The scorecards were 118-109 and 120-107 twice. Haney’s comprehensive body of work undoubtedly moves to the judges of the court of public opinion, the fans, and the effort will likely fall short of Lightweight unified champion Teofimo Lopez’ upset of former pound-for-pound champion Vasiliy Lomachenko last month.
Haney dominated a tough veteran opponent. He also looked healthy and exited the ring without suffering a lot of damage. Lastly, he holds the WBC green belt, so while an immediate fight with Lopez is highly unlikely, foes still have to come see him for a shot at one of the division’s four major titles.
Haney celebrates his 22nd birthday in 10 days, and the victory allowed him to fit a meaningful fight in in a challenging 2020.
All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing