Devin Haney controversially edges Vasyl Lomachenko thriller to retain undisputed lightweight titles

And still: Devin Haney beat Vasyl Lomachenko to stay the undisputed lightweight champion  (Getty Images)
And still: Devin Haney beat Vasyl Lomachenko to stay the undisputed lightweight champion (Getty Images)

Devin Haney controversially edged a thrilling fight with Vasyl Lomachenko on points to retain his status as the undisputed men’s lightweight champion of the world.

‘The Dream’ retained all the belts in arguably boxing’s most exciting division and remains undefeated at 30-0 after a pulsating tactical clash with a former pound-for-pound superstar at the iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was an incredibly close and absorbing contest with so many rounds difficult to score, but Haney crucially closed with a strong final three minutes after being clearly hurt in a dramatic 11th to take a unanimous decision victory as the three judges at ringside returned scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 in his favour.

However, many at ringside thought the great Lomachenko’s spirited and energetic effort that made a mockery of many pre-fight predictions made him worthy of victory in what could well have been his final chance at the very highest level as he tried to properly bounce back from that shock defeat by Teofimo Lopez in 2020 in which he lost his unified titles.

Boos rained down from a heavily pro-Lomachenko crowd after the result was read out, though the Ukrainian stopped short of saying that his undisputed dream had been stolen from him.

Haney - who achieved and then first retained undisputed status with a pair of comfortable points wins over former champion George Kambosos Jr in Australia last year - had a brief exchange with Shakur Stevenson inside the ring after his latest triumph and must now decide whether to stay at lightweight and pursue blockbuster meetings with the likes of him and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, or else make the jump up to 140lbs having again reiterated his struggles to make the weight.

On Saturday’s undercard, Oscar Valdez returned to winning ways 13 months on from losing his WBC super-featherweight world title to Shakur Stevenson in a first professional loss by earning a wide points win over Adam Lopez in an engrossing rematch of their 2019 brawl.

Undefeated lightweight prospect Raymond Muratalla aced what was predicted to be the toughest test of his career to date, overwhelming the dangerous Jeremia Nakathila inside just two rounds.

Japan’s Junto Nakatani became a two-weight world champion at 25 by seizing the vacant WBO super-flyweight title, delivering a Knockout of the Year contender in the final round having already dropped Australia’s Andrew Moloney twice.

Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh saw his winning run ended by a surprise split-draw against Danny Rosenberger, while there were early wins for prospects Emiliano Vargas, Abdullah Mason, Floyd Diaz and Amari Jones.