By Sam Volz: Vasyl Lomachenko is baffled by Devin Haney’s claims of him being a “dirty fighter” ahead of their upcoming fight on Saturday night.
The former two-division world champion Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) says he doesn’t view himself as a dirty fighter, and he suspects that Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is playing a “game.”
Loma thinks that Haney wants to make him hesitant to try and fight out of the many clinches he’ll be dealing with. As most boxing fans know, a large part of Haney’s game is clinching.
For Haney, it’s equal importance to his vast size and powerful jab. Clinching has become one of Devin’s primary tools since he was hurt in consecutive fights in 2021.
To keep from getting hurt again, Haney holds, and some would say he does it excessively and has learned how to game the system. He gets away with it without being penalized or disqualified.
You can argue that Haney should have been penalized multiple times for his excessive holding in his last two fights against George Kambosos Jr, but the referee failed to enforce the rules.
“I think he started a little game. It’s a part of the game. I like it, and I can’t wait,” said Vasyl Lomachenko to the media responding to Devin Haney calling him a “dirty fighter.”
“Maybe you better ask him. He needs to explain because I don’t understand what he’s talking about. Of course,” said Lomachenko when told that punching out of a clinch is part of the game and within the rules.
“We have a referee, and if you do something dirty, of course, it’s not right, but I always try to stay a clean fighter.”
“That is the first time that I heard Loma was called a dirty fighter. We as a team don’t recall it, and I probably say that you as reporters don’t recall Loma fighting dirty,” said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager.
“I don’t understand why I need to explain this,” said Lomachenko. “Maybe,” said Loma about him being good at getting fighters to let go of him when being clinched.
“Maybe it’s part of their plan, a game, but it’s not working.”
“He put a big seed into your heads because you guys as reporters all have been talking about that. Not Loma, you guys are talking about that. He put the seed into your head,” said Klimas.
“Being undisputed champion is the biggest dream in professional sports, of course,” said Lomachenko. “In my head, a gold medal [in the Olympics] is a child’s goal. When I was six-years-old, I put this goal in my head and went all my life for this dream.”
“We know boxing is part of the mind game. So people have in their minds to try and bring something to the fighters,” said Klimas. “Maybe he’s trying to make Loma try and not be dirty, not to think about the fight.
“All of this is in the past because you can’t get into his head, I guarantee you. Nothing can get into his head. When he goes into the ring, he concentrates. You can talk all you want to talk. He’s going to forget about everything but about the fight. So more power to them.
“If they’re trying to get into his head, let them do it. Let them burn energy on that,” said Klimas.