By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn believes Luke Campbell and Hughie Fury could pull off major upsets this Saturday in their respective clashes against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Alexander Povetkin at the O2 Arena in London, England. Unfortunately for Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn, Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) and Fury (23-2, 13 KOs) are both underdogs, and for good reason. They haven’t done anything with their careers. Hughie, 24, is much younger than the 39-year-old Povetkin, and that could work his favor. If there’s going to be an upset on Saturday, it’ll probably be Hughie that does it.
Pound-for-pound #1 and WBA/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) will be traveling to England to fight Campbell for the vacant WBC 135-lb title. That’s the whole reason why Lomachenko, 31, is taking the fight. He wants the WBC title to add to his growing collection of belts, and Campbell is going to try and upset his plans.
Both fighters are Olympic gold medalists. Campbell captured a gold in the 2012 Olympics, whereas Lomachenko won his gold meals in 2008 and 2012. None of that matters for Saturday’s fight. Campbell has got to find a way to deal with the huge talent of Lomachenko, and he must find an answer in how to land his power shots. Lomachenko is almost impossible to hit consistently, even when he’s standing in front of his opposition.
Hearn: Is this the perfect time for Hughie to face Povetkin?
“I just think Povetkin vs. Fury is a brilliant fight,” said Hearn to Matchroom Boxing. “Look at the narration of the fight. You’ve got Tyson Fury’s cousin. The way he [Peter Fury] says to his son, ‘You’ve got get in there and fight.’ Look at who he’s fighting already at 24. Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev in Bulgaria. Now he’s fighting Povetkin. He’s 24. He’s nowhere near his prime his age. Then you’ve got Alexander Povetkin. He’s one of the toughest, the most fearsome, and one of the biggest punching heavyweights out there. He’s got bags of experience, but he’s getting on,” said Hearn.
Hearn points out that Hughie has fought Parker and Pulev, but he fails to say that he lost both of those fights. Those were both one-sided affairs where Hughie was unable to match the offensive fire power of Parker and Pulev. The 38-year-old Pulev isn’t a big power puncher, but he had Hughie’s respect all night in their IBF title eliminator last October in Bulgaria. Fury fought like he was afraid, and he never let his hands go.
Hughie didn’t throw enough punches, and he let Pulev run away with it. Although Hughie later blamed his defeat on having a bad cut in the second round, he was never in the fight. Hughie’s only two fights against tough opposition were his losses to Pulev and Parker. In comparison, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Povetkin has fought the following guys during his 14-year pro career:
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Carlos Takam
- Johann Duhaupas
- Anthony Joshua
- David Price
- Manuel Charr
- Hasim Rahman
- Ruslan Chagaev
- Marco Huck
- Chris Byrd
- Eddie Chambers
- Larry Donald
- Christian Hammer
- Mike Perez
Will Povetkin’s recent KO loss to Joshua effect him against Fury?
“How much did the defeat and the knockout at the hands of Anthony Joshua take out of you?” asked Hearn. ” it the perfect time for Hughie Fury? I was talking to someone today, and the conversation was, ‘Why is Hughie Fury taking this fight?’ And I said, ‘He believes he can win.’ He knows if he wins this fight is catapults himself to such a high level in the division, that he becomes a major player. And the same person said to me, ‘Why is Povetkin taking this fight? Hughie Fury is awkward, he’s young, and he’s fast.’
‘You start to think, ‘Can Hughie Fury box his way to a win against Alexander Povetkin?” said Hear. “Nah, surely he can’t, can he? Povetkin is too strong, he’s going to cut him off, he’s going to pin him against the ropes, and he’s going to unload that big left hook that we saw him knock David Price out with. Life is about timing. Boxing is about timing. It’s just the perfect time for Hughie Fury. I can’t wait for the fight. This card is unbelievable from top to bottom. Fury-Povetkin, as far as the intrigue of the fight, is just [out of this world]. I can’t wait. I have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Hearn.
Povetkin’s knockout loss to Joshua likely won’t effect him enough for Hughie to take advantage of it. If Hughie had a little more power, then Povetkin would be in trouble, but that’s not the case.
Joshua punished Povetkin last September
Povetkin was hammered by Joshua in losing a 7th round knockout last September. It’s not going to be easy for Povetkin to rebound from that defeat against the slippery eel-like Fury, who won’t stand in front of him to trade shots. That’s not how Hughie fights. He likes to load up with right hands, and left hooks, and then dash away to keep getting hit. When his opponents cut off the ring on Hughie, he ties them up in a clinch to keep them from throwing. In a lot of cases, Hughie will immediately clinch his opponents without throwing anything. He did a lot of that in his 12 round decision loss to former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in 2018.
The good news about Povetkin fighting Hughie is the fact that he’s not a huge puncher. Additionally, Povetkin doesn’t need to worry about Hughie throwing a lot of shots at him, because he’s not a volume puncher. Hughie wins his fights by frustrating his opponents by hitting them, making them miss, and tying them up frequently. Povetkin will need to chase Hughie at times, but he’s not hard to catch. He doesn’t move as well as his cousin Tyson Fury.
Hearn: No one is giving Luke Campbell a chance
“Bringing [vasiliy] Lomachenko to the UK was a major move for us, and for British Boxing,” said Hearn. “You’re talking about a pound-for-pound #1. This is like bringing Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali. Those guys in their eras were superstars of the sport, pound-for-pound #1. When the came to the UK, it was a major moment for British Boxing. This is all that again. We’ll never get another chance to watch Vasiliy Lomachenko box in Britain. Everyone thinks he’s unbeatable. No one is giving Luke Campbell a chance. I do. People in Boxing do. They all say the same thing.
— Luke Campbell MBE (@luke11campbell) August 26, 2019
“This will be the toughest test for Vasiliy Lomachenko’s career so far,” said Hearn. “I truly believe that. But again, we’re talking about timing. If this was Luke Campbell from a year ago or two years ago, I don’t think he could win this fight. With [trainer] Shane McGuigan with his mental state of mind, and with his experience he’s been through in losing to [Yvan] Mendy, and beating Mendy [in the rematch], going to LA and fighting Jorge Linares, losing a razor thin decision. He didn’t really believe he could win at that time. He went there, he thought he could win, but he was a boy. Now I feel like he’s a man. He’s punching harder than ever,” said Hearn.
The Boxing public isn’t giving Campbell a chance because he’s already lost twice against lesser fighters than Lomachenko. In fact, Lomachenko knocked out one of the guys that beat Campbell in Jorge Linares. In Campbell’s recent fights, he’s looked beatable. As far as Campbell’s loss to Linares in 2017, he tried hard but he couldn’t do it. Campbell complained afterwards about how he thought he won, but the Boxing public didn’t agree. They saw as the loser, and a sore loser as well.
Campbell knows how to solve the matrix Lomachenko
“He had a great performance in Philadelphia [against Adrian Yung] ,” said Hearn. “It was perfect preparation for this, but he’s fighting a pound-for-pound genius in Vasiliy Lomachenko. I just think Campbell has the ring IQ, the power, and the style to cause him problems if he can get through those first three to four rounds to get to navigate the style. You’re not talking about a guy with limited amateur experience or doesn’t have a big ring IQ. You’re talking about Luke Campbell, the greatest amateur Britain has ever produced. He has watched Lomachenko all over the world in these amateur tournaments. He may have been sitting down thinking, ‘One day I may fight you.’ He now knows him inside and out, but you’ve got to solve the matrix of Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The way for Campbell to win the fight is to put pressure on Lomachenko, throwing shots, and rough him up. Orlando Salido already did all of those things in beating Lomachenko in 2014. Salido had a weight advantage in that fight, and that helped him. If Campbell can come in as heavy as possible he could use his size to give Loma problems.
If Campbell wins, it would be biggest upset in British Boxing history
“It’s very easy saying, ‘I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that,’” said Hearn. “I remember Anthony Crolla saying, ‘every time I thought about doing something, I was hit with three or four from here and over there.’ It’s like a video game. If Luke can use his reach and power, he can solve the problem. [Jorge] Linares had him [Lomachenko] down. Campbell hits harder than Linares. You’ve got to time him.
You’ve got to land something on him, because it’s going to be really difficult. I urge everybody at the sold out O2, and are watching it on Sky Sports Box Office, get behind Luke Campbell. He has a chance to go down to cause one of the biggest upsets in all time in British Boxing. If Luke Campbell wins, he becomes a pound-for-pound star. You’ve got to be in it to win it. It’s going to be unbelievable night at the O2,” said Hearn.