In an intriguing battle at a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, both fighters put on a superb display as the clash ebbed-and-flowed across the 12 rounds.
Former unified lightweight champion and double Olympic king Lomachenko was the toughest opponent by far for the unbeaten Haney, who had won all 29 of his previous fights.
When the final bell went, it was still uncertain as to who would emerge victorious from their epic clash before the judges ruled in favour of the American.
The fight was scored 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 towards a delighted Haney, leaving ‘Loma’ clearly devasted inside the ring.
Devin Haney defended his undisputed lightweight titles against Vasyl Lomachenko
In an intriguing clash, both fighters put on a stellar display as they traded blows throughout
Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), 24, had unified all four major belts with a victory over George Kambosos Jr in June 2022 – something he successfully defended against the same opponent in October.
Meanwhile, Lomachenko, 35, had won three consecutive fights heading into this clash.
The Ukrainian was keen to show he was not a fading force against the bright young star in Haney and he impressed throughout, consistently hitting back whenever his opponent tried to gain momentum.
The American – who was vociferously booed by the crowd – seemed to be much more aggressive than usual as he had an increasingly open stance and tried to assert himself.
But Loma started quickly and his traditional fast hands and great footwork were on display as they continued to go back-and-forth.
The Ukrainian came alive towards the end of the bout and caught Haney several times in Rounds 10 and 11 with a flurry of punches.
However, the undisputed champion summoned new reserves of energy and delivered in the final round as he struck Loma’s body several times.
However, there was controversy surrounding the result with many feeling Lomachenko should have won
The Ukrainian fighter landed several punches on Haney and came alive in the later rounds
Both fighters celebrated after the final bell, believing they had done enough to get the victory
At the final bell, both fighters celebrated in what was an extremely tough bout to score such was its competitiveness, before the judges ruled in favour of Haney – much to the disgust of the pro-Lomachenko crowd.
Speaking after defending his world titles, Haney said: ‘Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer and it was a blessing (to win). I want to thank Allah for this.
‘I tip my hat off to him, he’s been my toughest opponent by far and we put on a great fight for the fans. He’s a crafty fighter and turns it up in the championship rounds and I’ve got to tip my hat off to him.
‘It’s all experience, my team will go back and reflect on this fight. We’ll go back and figure out what’s next.’
Haney also hinted that he could move up in weight in the future. He continued: ‘This is my eighth title defence and there’s a lot of great fighters again so we might go up (in weight). This fight puts me in the history books forever.’
A devastated Lomachenko refused to comment on the controversy surrounding the result.
He said: ‘First of all thank you to God and also thank you to my team and you guys (in the crowd).
Haney was delighted to get the win in Las Vegas which ‘put him in the history books forever’
Lomachenko was devastated with the result, but refused to comment on the judges’ decision
‘Thank you very much. I don’t want to talk about it (the result) all the people can see what happened today.
‘I think I showed I can be in boxing and I’m in good shape. I can’t talk about the result right now it’s just not a comfortable moment for me right now but thank you everyone who came.
He added: ‘Everything was in the rules. I thought he (Haney) would be better but he’s a tough fighter, but he’s not the pound-for-pound fighter.
‘Right now, I want to go home and support my country and my Ukraine Orthodox church.’
Meanwhile, following the fight, former featherweight and super-featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson felt Lomachenko had been unfairly denied victory, while he also called out Haney and talked up a potential showdown with his fellow American.
‘Lomachenko should be undisputed champion here, he won. He won that fight. He landed the cleaner punches. He landed the cleaner shots on Dev, and he pushed the pace,’ Stevenson said.
‘Let’s make it happen. I think it should happen next. I think Devon is not on my level and Imma show it. I feel like Devon is a tough fighter, but there is a high skill level inside me and he’s not on my level. Bill [Haney] called me out after my last fight. Now I’m here and they ran out the ring,’
‘They seen me just now and they ran out the ring. They got a little scared. I can’t wait [to face him].’