Vasyl Lomachenko team to appeal ‘biggest robbery’ after controversial Devin Haney loss

Controversial decision: Devin Haney edged Vasyl Lomachenko on points in a fight that many thought the challenger actually won  (AP)
Controversial decision: Devin Haney edged Vasyl Lomachenko on points in a fight that many thought the challenger actually won (AP)

Vasyl Lomachenko’s team have confirmed their intention to appeal and protest against his controversial points defeat by Devin Haney.

Lomachenko’s manager Egis Klimas was left furious by his fighter’s unanimous decision loss in a closely-contested undisputed lightweight title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Despite entering the bout as a clear underdog against the bigger, taller and more powerful defending champion, the Ukrainian nevertheless great delivered a terrific performance in an engrossing tactical battle in front of a heavily pro-Lomachenko crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, making life extremely difficult for Haney throughout.

Lomachenko arguably outworked his rival, landing more punches and certainly the more eye-catching shots, hurting Haney in round 11. However, the American crucially closed out strong to edge two scorecards 115-113, with the other judge at ringside scoring the fight 116-112 in Haney’s favour.

The result was met with heavy boos from the audience inside the venue, with other lightweight contenders such as Shakur Stevenson and Ryan Garcia among those boxers to publicly state that they believed that Lomachenko had won the contest.

It is a view certainly shared by Lomachenko’s manager Klimas, who told a post-fight press conference: “I’m going to say it just like it is - this is the biggest robbery in the middle of the day.

“For the other team, Christmas came in the summer. We are not going to let it go. I guarantee we are going to protest, I guarantee we are going to appeal that decision.

“Because somebody needs to end this injustice. Somebody needs to put boxing in the place where it has to be. It has to be justice.

“Those judges, when they scored their completely insane scores, they do not understand how the fighters are working hard. Being robbed like that? It’s not acceptable.

“I guarantee we are not going to let it go, we are going to go all the way to the end to appeal. Maybe we are not going to win, most likely it is going to be as it is, but we want to show that there has to be justice.”

An emotional Lomachenko broke down in tears backstage after his third career loss, explaining that he had thought about his young son’s disappointment.

“I controlled the fight,” he lamented to reporters. “All fight I understand that I was winning the fight. So for me it’s a big surprise. 12 rounds and I was sure I won this fight. But it is what it is.

“I controlled every round. It is a big, big question what happened in the result today.”

Haney, meanwhile, was convinced that his gameplan to continually target the body of Lomachenko from the outset delivered him a deserved victory as he stayed undefeated and moved to 30-0 as a professional.

“The body work is what won me the fight tonight,” he said. “I knew that I had to invest in that body. We watched a lot of tape on Loma and we knew that he wasn’t the biggest fan of body shots, so I stuck to the gameplan.

“It was breaking him down. I felt like he was fighting in spurts. He would have some good moments during the round, but he wasn’t finishing the round strong. I was definitely confident that I won the fight.

“I knew that it was a close fight, of course he won rounds. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy fight. I had to go through the fire to win.”