Fighter Spotlight: Luke "Cool-hand" Campbell
Luke Campbell can hold his own. The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist faces his most daunting task this Saturday as he battles generational talent and RING Magazines #1 ranked pound for pound fighter Vasyl Lomachenko. His bout vs the current WBO & WBA Lightweight Champion, will be held at the 02 Arena in London, UK streamed on ESPN+ starting at 5pm E.T. Lomachenko and Campbell will also be fighting for the vacant WBC lightweight title this weekend.
We know all about Lomachenko. In a very short span Loma has accomplished feats unheard of in the boxing world. Winning a legit world title in only his third pro bout against an undefeated 24-0 Mr. Gary Russell Jr. Handing Russell Jr. his only defeat and as time moves on the win looks more impressive by the day.
Loma's boxing excellence has set the bar so incredibly high that once an opponent is secured, a frustrating task early in his career, he’s already branded with an L. But Luke Campbell is far from a pushover. Far from just an opponent. Sure, he has two losses on his record, 20-2 overall with 16 KO’s, but I’ve never been one to write off a boxer after suffering one loss.
Only in boxing are fans quick to mention how someone “got exposed” or was a “paper champ” following a defeat. Many great boxers have off nights in the ring. This day and age, the athletes are bigger, faster, stronger combined with the advances in scientific training means competition levels are fierce! Plus, a one on one sport such as boxing is as much mental as it is physical.
Luke Campbell's second loss was against a 42-3 Jorge Linares who was in such good form the WBC and WBA titles were strapped around his waist. That fight was on the 23rd of September 2017. Luke Campbell's father died two weeks prior and kept that info hidden from his opponent and the media. Luke was alone in the US while his family mourned overseas at home, Hull, UK. “I probably cried once a day. I had to try and shut feelings off. After the fight I had a good cry.” Luke said after the fight. “It was hard for me, I was close to my dad. All the family was together at home and I was on my own, no one around me.”
Luke was 1 point away from a split decision draw.
A razor thin loss so close fans and media remain divided. The only agreement is the bravery and mental fortitude Luke displayed that night. Their fight was a 12 round high-level chess match where Luke Campbell was applauded for his boxing ability and proved the Brit belonged. He boxed masterfully! At times picking Linares apart taking advantage of every single opportunity given.
The odds are stacked against Luke. But he has enough skill in the arsenal to at least keep it close. Read on.
Luke “Cool hand” Campbell
From: Yorkshire, UK Age: 31
Record: 20-2 16 KOs Height: 5’9’’
Reach: 71” Stance: Southpaw
Boxer/Puncher: Luke boxes beautifully from a purist standpoint! Very polished. Very fast. Great defense. Capitalizes on every mistake an opponent makes. Delivers his combinations with great fluidity. Stands perfectly balanced and strikes with precision. Luke has skills!
Ring Awareness: Luke fights extremely well from his back foot. A skill that will be crucial vs the aggressive Lomachenko. He’s extremely difficult to pin on the ropes. Pivots when he senses ropes near as if an extra set of eyes are attached to the back of his head.
Unorthodox Training: To beat a great, sometimes thinking outside the box is needed. If reports are true, Luke has been sparring with 3 fighters, simultaneously. Meaning he has to defend from six set of hands. Not a bad idea considering it appears Lomachenko has multiple hands at times. Matrix style.
Not A Brawler: A young 12-0 Luke faced of against an experienced Yvan Mendy in 2012. Luke decided it was in his best interest to brawl instead of box and paid a price for it. Luke was dropped in the fifth round and faced a difficult challenge recovering on the scorecards dropping a split decision loss. Stick to what you do best!!
Lost To Jorge Linares: Styles make fights so just because boxer A lost to boxer B, while boxer C beat boxer B doesn’t mean boxer C will beat boxer A. (I almost confused myself.) The one thing we can take from all of this is the mental part. Is Luke doubting himself since he lost to Linares while Lomachenko stopped Linares in 10? Probably not, but it’s still in the minds subconscious.
I won’t go as far as picking Luke Campbell to defy the odds and stun Vasyl Lomachenko. What I will say is Luke will keep it close. He is very skilled with great power to make it competitive. Lomachenko is already mentioning how much he loves hunting and fishing every day and hates the fact training takes him away from those hobbies. Luke might be catching the pound for pound great at the right time. In a year full of upsets, don’t be surprised if the determined gold medalist shines!
· Article Written by:
· Manuel “Hopper” Dominguez