Luke Campbell faces the seemingly impossible task of dethroning superstar Vasyl Lomachenko this Saturday live at the 02 in London.
Loma is unlike any other boxer alive today. The two-time Olympic gold medallist only lost one of his three hundred and ninety-six fights and avenged that bout twice over. He is a three-weight world champion, who lost a contentious split decision against Orlando Salido for the WBO Featherweight Title in only his second fight. The man is simply awesome and rightly sits at the overwhelming majority of both boxing fans and experts pound for pound list. His footwork, hand speed and lateral movement are as close to perfect as I can remember seeing from any boxer before. It is exceptionally difficult to make case for him to be beat comeSaturday night.
With this in mind, does Campbell actually stand a chance?
Campbell is Britain’s most successful amateur fighter of all time. A world championship Silver medallist and Olympic Gold medallist, he has fought elite fighters from all over the globe. He is experienced, tall, fast, skilful and strong. His only professional losses have come at the hands of Yvan Mendy, which he avenged with ease and a close split decision against former pound for pound star Jorge Linares.
Lomachenko fought Linares himself and was surprisingly dropped in the sixth in what transpired to be a thrilling bout. Lomaeventually stamped his authority and stopped Linares in the tenth with a sickening body shot.
Some felt Linares’ performance proved Loma is overrated, that he is human and could be beat. However, in the second round, Loma suffered a torn labarum in his right shoulder, and his father had to pop it back in. He fought through the searingpain and not only survived, but also dispatched a prime Linares in the best form of his career with virtual ease. The man is a spectacle and deserves all the credit in the world.
Loma was boxing with his father Anatoly from a very young age. Anatoly made a young Loma attend ballet lessons, which has led to that breathtaking footwork that he possesses. He is a well-oiled machine built over time, and the only possible ways I can see him beat at lightweight is in the case of a freak injury or disqualification. Barring either of those one-offoccurrences, I do not feel Vasyl Lomachenko will be beaten at lightweight by Luke Campbell; he is simply too good.
Some will disagree – he’s been dropped before, so surely he can be hurt? Indeed, Loma was dropped by Linares, who also dropped Campbell hard in their own fight. The issue is nothing before has indicated that Campbell can hit as hard as Linares. Yes, he is strong, but he is not a renowned one-punch knockout artist, rather someone who breaks a fighter down. To beat Lomachenko, you need to level him with that one perfect clean punch, because he does not allow himself to be hit clean more than once. He is able to dodge punches from any angle; Lomachenko really is the matrix.
In fact, the only way I see Loma getting beat by anyone, is by either someone like Devin Hainey (in a fair few years’ time) or by attempting to go further up the weights, because as shown after Brook vs Golovkin and Garcia vs Spence, a good big man will always beat a good little man. The height advantage that both Linares and Pedraza had over Lomachenko made either fight less easy than others he has had, but he still won both handily. If Loma was to run into a Prograis at super-lightweight or a Spence at Welterweight;naturally bigger fighters who possess that colossal power, I imagine then we would see him beat. Whilst Campbell has the height advantage over Loma, nothing we have seen from him before indicates he will be able to level Loma, unless there is something he is working on with Shane McGuigan we have not seen before.
Luke Campbell is a brilliant fighter; some may argue elite. He could have nicked the fight against Linares and he certainly would have won if he had not been dropped. In boxing, timing is everything, and sadly, Loma’s lightweight reign is at the worst possible time for Campbell. He probably beats most lightweight world champions we have seen of the last decade. The issue is Lomachenko is not most lightweight world champions; he is the best we have seen since Mayweather. It is a shame for Luke Campbell because he is a phenomenallyhard-working and talented fighter, yet he will face the world’s very best, and sadly, I do not think he will win.
I really would love to be wrong, and nothing would please me more than seeing Campbell’s hand raised victorious on Saturday night, but I just find it simply unmanageable to make case for him winning the fight.
I would predict that Lomachenko either stops Campbell late or wins a UD if Campbell can use his height and survive throughout like Pedraza.
By Aaron Ludford for SimBoxx 🥊
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