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Las Vegan Haney to battle Kambosos Jr. for undisputed title

Devin Haney is going down under.

The WBC lightweight champion and 23-year-old Las Vegan will fight WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. for the undisputed 135-pound title June 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

The fight is the first of three for Haney under a new co-promotional deal with Top Rank and DiBella Entertainment, which promotes Kambosos, 28, of Sydney, Australia.

Haney (27-0, 15 knockouts) was a promotional free agent, previously fighting under the Matchroom promotional banner on DAZN. He’ll fight now on ESPN. The deal includes a rematch clause should Haney win. The third fight, sources said, would be a pay-per-view against former unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, with whom Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) previously negotiated before finalizing the fight with Haney.

Lomachenko is unavailable now amid the turmoil in his native Ukraine. The deal with Haney was finalized earlier this week and announced Thursday during a joint press conference.

Haney insisted Thursday that Kambosos did not want to fight him, triggering some spirited back-and-forth between the two champions.

“He was forced into this fight. He did not want to fight me. Up until today he did not want to sign the contract,” said Haney, who last beat JoJo Diaz Jr. on Dec. 4 at MGM Grand Garden. “I’d fight (Kambosos) anywhere. I’d fight (him) in his backyard if I had to.”

Haney claimed his title Sept. 13, 2019 with a stoppage victory over Zaur Abdullaev — completing four defenses and beating former champions in Diaz, Jorge Linares and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Kambosos won his belts by outpointing former unified champion Teofimo Lopez on Nov. 27 in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

The fight betweeen the two will crown the first undisputed 135-pound champion in the four-belt era, which began in 2007. Kambosos could have opted to make his first defense against a lesser opponent who presents less of a threat than Haney, a slick, fundamentally sound fighter who could pose problems for his aggressive opponent.

“I’m never content. I always chase the biggest names,” Kambosos said. “I could have fought anybody. Any person, I could have picked. … Devin Haney, step up. Now we’ll take your belt.”

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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