Kambosos Jr loses world lightweight titles

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George Kambosos Jr is already plotting revenge after relinquishing his three world title belts with a unanimous defeat to American Devin Haney in their lightweight blockbuster in Melbourne.

Haney inflicted Kambosos with the first loss of his 21-fight career at Marvel Stadium on Sunday to add the WBA, WBO and IBF titles to the WBC strap he already held.

The 23-year-old joins an exclusive club of now-eight fighters, including legends Bernard Hopkins, Terence Crawford and Tim Tszyu's looming opponent Jermell Charlo, to unify a division in the 18-year four-belt era.

Two of the judges awarded the bout 116-112 to Haney, with the third giving it 118-110 to The Dream from Las Vegas.

The new undisputed lightweight champion improved his unbeaten record to 28 wins with a pure display of boxing in the biggest fight ever on Australian shores.

"It's amazing for the sport and the country," Kambosos said after graciously handing over his belts to the victor.

"I wanted to take the hardest test and I will give him full respect after his victory. Let him have his time."

While Kambosos landed the heavier blows throughout the 12-round contest, Haney peppered the home hope with left jabs to win over the judges.

"I thought the fight was very close," Kambosos said.

"He boxed his game, he moved. He didn't want to come to fight too much but that's his game.

"I'm going to change a few things and get him back later this year.

"This is not the end for me. I'll be back hungrier than ever.

"True champions bounce back - the greats. Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, all these guys bounced back and that's what's made their legacies."

A rematch clause was in the $US10 million ($A14 million) contract - of which Kambosos received $US7 million ($A9.7 million) - and promoters Lou DiBella and Top Rank's Bob Arum said Haney would honour it unless he vacated the division to move up to junior welterweight.

Any rematch would almost certainly take place again in Melbourne in October or November, but most definitely in Australia.

DiBella said Kambosos fully deserved the chance to win back his belts - and unify the division himself - after declining to take a "victory lap" and millions of dollars against a lesser opponent than Haney.

"He fought this for personal legacy and he also fought it for the good of boxing and fought it for the good of Australian boxing," DiBella said.

"He believed that this country deserved a big stadium fight."

If Haney does move up divisions, Kambosos would likely face former world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko for all four lightweight straps.

Ukrainian Lomachenko has put his career on hold to help defend his country against the Russian invasion.

"Lomachenko, obviously he was the first choice originally and what he's doing is bigger than what we're doing here today," Kambosos said.

"So if that is the case, I would welcome that fight with open arms.

"But let's hope Devin, as I gave him a shot, that he stays at 135 (pounds) and we do it again because I've got to get that back now. I have to."

Sunday's two combatants barely threw a punch in a watchful opening round that Kambosos may have stolen with a late combination to the American's body.

The pair traded rounds early before Haney controlled the middle stages, leaving Kambosos to find something to sway the judges.

The Greek-Australian spartan warrior landed three big rights to take the ninth as the home crowd of 41,129 fans willed their local hero to dig deep.

Alas, the damage was done early as Haney secured his place in boxing history.

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