By Trevor McIntyre: Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) believes he’s on the cusp of becoming a household name this Saturday when he faces WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) on ESPN+ at the O2 Arena in London, UK. The vacant WBC lightweight title will also be on the line. That’s the belt that Lomachenko wants to add to his collection of 135-lb titles, and Campbell is standing in his path to glory.
Campbell says he doesn’t want to fight just anyone. He wants to fight the best, because then he’ll get the recognition that he craves. Campbell captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain, but as a pro, stardom has eluded him. When his promoter Eddie Hearn moved him up a level against Jorge Linares in 2017, he lost. Campbell wasn’t a good loser in complaining, and denying the reality of what had happened to him.
Campbell gets second world title opportunity
This will be the second time for the 31-year-old Campbell to challenge for a world title, and he’s facing the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in Boxing in Lomachenko.
Beating Lomachenko will take Campbell’s career to another level, and that’s stating the obvious. Lomachenko has lost just once in his career, and that was in his second pro fight against Orlando Salido.
Despite having lost twice during his six-year pro career, Campbell isn’t short on self-confidence and ambition. Part of that comes from Campbell’s belief that he should only have one defeat on his record in a close 12 round split decision loss to Yvan Mendy in December 2015. Campbell has since avenged that loss in beating Mendy by a wide 12 round decision last September.
Campbell says “everyone will know” him after he beats Lomachenko
“I don’t want to be a champion that no one knows,” said Campbell to ESPN.com. “Why would I want to be fighting someone no one has heard of for the world title? “I don’t want to be a world champion that no one gives a f— about, and there are loads of them about. Everyone will know my name once I win this fight, mark my words.”
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) August 26, 2019
It’s all well and good for Campbell to dream of victory, but he’s got to find a way to do it on Saturday. Campbell’s style of fighting won’t work against Lomachenko, because it involves too much Boxing. To beat Lomachenko, Campbell will need to transform himself into an inside body puncher/pressure fighter. It takes years or a fighter to get comfortable with that style of fighting, and Campbell has only had a 10-week training camp.
Campbell won’t be able to change his basic Boxing DNA to reinvent himself into a Orlando Salido 2.0 copy. He’s going to try to do that though, but it probably won’t work. If Campbell sticks with his normal long range fighting style, he won’t last long against Lomachenko. The Ukrainian is quick to close the distance on taller fighters, and he won’t let Campbell exist on the outside. If Lomachenko gets injured somehow during the fight, then Campbell has a chance, but other than that, it’s going to be hard for him.
Lomachenko says training has been easy
“This time not hard,” said Lomachenko to Sky Sports News about his training camp for Campbell fight. “I don’t know why, but it’s been easier than my last fight against [Anthony] Crolla. It was a big moment for me, but it was a second gold medal for me,” said Lomchenko in talking about the 2012 London Olympics. “I trained hard and prepared hard for second Olympic games.
I like the city of London. I have good memories. They understand, and they love Boxing,” said Lomachenko about the British fans. “It’s a special people. Yes, correct,” Lomachenko said when asked if UK fans respect the sport. “They respect Boxing, and they understand Boxing styles,” said Lomachenko.
Lomachenko insisted on having the Campbell fight take place in the UK, and he got his way. He wants to become a star in Great Britain, and a win over Campbell will help him achieve his goal.