After plenty of back and forth, tonight is the night that Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko finally face off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and tempers have been flaring in the build-up.
With the undisputed lightweight boxing title on the line, the weigh-in overnight was always going to be intense, but defending champion Haney stepped the hostility up a gear when he shoved Lomachenko halfway across the stage.
As the pair faced off, in typical fashion, Haney got right into his Ukrainian opponent’s face as he tried to intimidate Lomachenko through a slurry of abuse.
In response, his opponent simply smiled, causing Haney to lose it and push Lomachenko away viciously, with the Ukrainian travelling quite some distance before his entourage could catch him.
Video: Haney pushes Lomachenko during face-off
What was said after the intense face-off between Haney & Lomachenko?
Haney then stormed out of the conference to boos and whistles from the onlookers.
Speaking after the incident, however, his confidence seemed undeterred when he was asked about the message he had just sent: “That was just the start. You see how easy I pushed him? He’s the smaller man and I’m gonna impose my will on him.”
Far from startled by the events, though, Lomachenko seemed equally confident when asked about the push: “He is mine. Now he is mine. He doesn’t have the power. I felt it. [He shoved me] because he’s scared, he’s scared.”
Boxing fans on social media have been quick to condemn Haney’s actions with many who were previously indifferent on the outcome now hoping karma bites Haney and Lomachenko comes away with the win.
Others pointed out just how dangerous it was from Haney to shove Lomachenko with such force given how easily it could have caused a whiplash injury. In particular, one fan posted a link to an incident from back in 2021 where Drakkar Klose was forced to pull out of UFC Vegas 24’s main event after he suffered concussion symptoms following an identical incident at his weigh-in.
Haney heads into tonight’s fight with a record of 29-0 but having only won his previous six fights by decision. Lomachenko’s record, meanwhile, has a couple more blemishes at 17-2, but he comes into the fight off the back of three straight wins.
The Ukrainian will be hoping to end Haney’s time at the top of the lightweight division with a little bit of revenge for the American’s actions at the weigh-in. Support for him will certainly be that little bit louder than it might have otherwise been.