Devin Haney will have his greatest supporter by his side after all.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Bill Haney, Devin’s father / head trainer / manager, was granted a travel visa which will allow him to travel abroad to Melbourne. The eleventh-hour development leaves a tight window of opportunity, though efforts are being made to secure a flight for the elder Haney to arrive in Australia by Sunday morning in time for Devin Haney’s undisputed lightweight championship clash with Sydney’s George Kambosos Jr.
The bout takes place early Sunday afternoon local time at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. ESPN will televise the card live beginning Saturday evening 9:00 pm ET / Sunday 11:00 am AEST. Las Vegas’ Haney (27-0, 15KOs) puts his WBC lightweight belt on the line for the fifth time against Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs), who defends his ruler / WBA / IBF / WBO championship for the first time.
The 23-year-old Haney was forced to leave his father behind upon making the trip to Melbourne more than two weeks ago. Bill Haney fully intended to travel with his son, only to learn at the time that his visa status was not yet approved. His application was held up due to a review of his drug conviction from nearly 30 years ago, for which he served more than a year in prison.
Australian visa rules state that felons who have served 12 months or more in prison are ineligible to qualify for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) or eVisitor visa required for short-term visits. Bill Haney stated in advance his past criminal record in hopes of avoiding this scenario, though the issue remained unresolved until late Thursday evening Pacific time.
A contingency plan was already in place in the event Bill Haney was unable to make the trip. Yoel Judah — Bill’s mentor and close friend of the family — was tabbed to lead Haney’s corner for the biggest fight of his career to date.
There is now a chance that Bill Haney will arrive in country in time to coach his son in a bid to become the youngest undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
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Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox