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Haney in bid for record titles against Kambosos

Judah in boxer's corner as trainer

Devin Haney trains during the Devin Haney Media Workout at Rathbone Boxing Club in London, England, in this file picture.
Devin Haney trains during the Devin Haney Media Workout at Rathbone Boxing Club in London, England, in this file picture.

Yoel Judah – the 66-year-old father of retired two-weight multiple world boxing champion Zab Judah – is carrying the hopes of millions of Americans on his shoulders in a bid to reclaim three world titles that were recently taken away from their countryman Teofimo Lopez by Australian George Kambosos at Madison Square Garden in New York on November 27 last year.

Rising star Devin Haney holds the WBC belt. The 23-year-old Haney from San Francisco, California, will not only be defending his belt but will also be challenging Kambosos for the Ring Magazine, WBA, IBF and WBO titles.  Kambosos, 28, from Sydney will make the first defence at Mavel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday.

Judah will be barking instructions in Haney’s corner. He came in at the 11th hour because Haney’s trainer and father Bill Haney could not get a visa due to a 30-year-old drug conviction record.

The last American to be undisputed lightweight world champion was Lopez who won those titles after defeating Vasilly Lomachenko in October 2020. Lopez was subsequently reported by some media to be the youngest four-belt holder of all time at the age of 23. Lopez is from Brooklyn, New York, home to the Judah boxing family.

Haney was installed as the WBC Interim champion last year after defeating Zaur Abdulaev, also at Madison Square Garden, on September 13.

Judah was a six-time national kickboxing champion and dabbled in boxing as a competitor. He later taught boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts to underprivileged boys and is said to have developed several New York Golden Gloves champions.

Three of his sons fought professionally. Judah was also involved with former two-time world heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs.

Despite being in this precarious situation, Haney is still tipped to reign supreme on Sunday, and one of his backers is Xolisani Ndongeni who lost on points to the American for the WBC International and WBO Intercontinental titles in the US in 2019.

“I believe Devin is going to win, and actually I want him to win," said Ndongeni. who described Kambosos as an aggressive power puncher who can knock Haney clean out. 

“Haney must use his long arms to keep Kambosos at the end of his jab and not allow him to get closer. Haney has hand speed and can be elusive. His ring IQ should also come in handy. But it is not going to be easy.”

Haney has knocked out 15 of his 27 opponents while Kambosos has flattened 10 of his 20 opponents.

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