About two weeks ago, Bill Haney, the father, trainer and manager of WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney, was resigned to the likelihood that he would not able to travel to Australia to be in the corner for his son’s unification fight with three-belt champion George Kambosos Jr. for the undisputed title.
But, he had not given up all hope, saying in an interview during a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN telecast, “I’m optimistic about maybe even me eventually being able to go out there. It’s still up in the air. I haven’t been totally denied.”
It did not, however, look good and two weeks ago Devin Haney flew to Australia without him when his father was denied a visa to due to a 1992 drug conviction — 30 years ago — that landed him in jail for more than a year.
Australia’s immigration rules typically don’t allow a felon to enter the country on work visa. So, Haney sent close friend Yoel Judah, a noted trainer in his own right, who guided son Zab Judah to the undisputed welterweight championship and multiple junior welterweight world titles, to Australia with his Devin to serve as his trainer for the fight.
But the review process of Bill Haney’s case yielded a surprise 11th-hour reversal and he was granted a visa and is expected in the corner for the fight on Saturday (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET) at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Kambosos’ home country, where a crowd of around 50,000 is expected. The fight will take place Sunday afternoon Melbourne time.
Travel arrangements were made quickly and Bill Haney departed Las Vegas at 6 a.m. PT on Friday with connections in Los Angeles and Brisbane, Australia before heading to Melbourne. As you can see from this social media video, the elder Haney did arrive around 9 p.m. local time Saturday night, and cleared immigration and customs,
Dateline: Melbourne, Australia
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 4, 2022
During his interview during the Top Rank card two weeks ago, Bill Haney said his son would be fine if he was unable to be there with him.
“Devin gets better when he faces adversity,” he said. “This was a 1992 conviction that was well before he was born, but I think that this is now going to propel Devin to bring out the best in Devin. It was hard to let him go though.
“I would say that it’s just like sending away your kid to go to college, but that wouldn’t be true. It’s a little bit more than that. But when it comes to sending away your kid to go to war it’s not quite as extensive as that. It’s a whirlwind of emotions that we’ve been going through as a father and son and as a trainer and a fighter, but we plan to overcome this adversity like we have every time before.”
Now it won’t be necessary for Devin Haney (27-0, 15 KOs), 23, of Las Vegas, to deal with that adversity as his father, who has guided his entire career, will be in the corner as usual for his son’s fifth title defense as he and Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs), 28, who is making his first defense, strive to become the first undisputed 135-pound champion of the four-belt era.