By: Waqas Ali
Britain’s Luke Campbell is in for a second chance at gaining a world title as he faces boxing technician and genius Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1) at the O2 arena in London, England.
Campbell (22-2) last fought for a world title when he faced Jorge Linares for the WBA lightweight title in September and lost via split decision.
Since then the Englishman made a comeback with three victories in the bag and now will be marking his fourth appearance at the famous arena.
The fight will be taking place on 31st August and has sold 15,000 tickets, according to promoter Eddie Hearns on Twitter.
Both Campbell and Lomachenko have two things in common. One is that they are both Olympic champions and two is that they have fought in the same event of year which was the 2012 Olympic tournament in separate weight classes.
Speaking about the opportunity of fighting the Ukranian champion, Campbell doesn’t deny the test in front of him.
Campbell, said: “I’ve never shied away from a challenge. This is a big challenge but these are the type of challenges that I train for every day and prepare for. I believe it’s the two best lightweights in the division facing off and I think this fight brings everything to the table: boxing IQ, power, speed, agility.”
“It has the making to be one of the great fights on these shores. I’m the challenger, he’s the champion, I respect everything he has achieved but I also believe that every champion was a challenger once, and I know I have what it takes to become a champion. It took me a while to get settled in the professional game, but this now feels like perfect timing.”
Lomachenko, already a three weight world champion in just 14 fights is considered by boxing experts, writers and fans, both causal and hardcore as one of the greatest fighters of this century.
The 31-year-old brings a variety of skills, styles and techniques that really cluster the meat of his talent.
His only loss occurred back in 2014 when he faced Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title and lost a close split decision result.
Since then no one has been able to come close to dethroning the two-time Olympic champion.
Lomachenko, however does not see this fight as a walk in the park for him and does recognise attributes of Campbell that could make this a competitive fight.
He said: “I’m happy to be in London again. I have great memories of winning the Olympic gold medal in London. The venue was full every day and the atmosphere was electric. I think this will be a very technical fight, and you have to love the British boxing fans because they are so passionate, emotional and noisy. I only have great memories of boxing here.”
“I don’t want to talk too much,” he added.
“It might be the toughest fight of my career so far, maybe, because he has a height and reach advantage. Maybe it will be for me a big challenge, but I never think about it. I just do my job, train hard and then I come in the ring. I’m going to leave a winner, that’s all I know.”
By the numbers, the Lomachenko is highly active by throwing 62 punches per round and connecting at 35%. This similar to the average lightweight who throws around 59 punches but the connect rate is slightly lower at 29%.
He lands a few more punches in power punching department (14 per round) with an excellent connect rate of 47%. The average lightweight lands at 12 with a rate of 35%.
His opponents landed just 24% of their power shots and just 6 per round which is half the lightweight average.
Campbell, who stands at 5 foot 9 with a reach of 71 inches has the lead advantage against Lomachenko who stands at 5 foot 7 with a reach of 65 ½ inches.
There is no doubt that the skillset of Lomachenko might overpower Campbell as we saw in the Anthony Crolla fight and all the previous fights. But as a strong Englishman, Campbell much like his fellow countryman Crolla will give his heart and soul in this fight.
After all, the fight against Linares became more close and competitive than people thought. His footwork, timing and counter punching could get some pundits and spectators raising their eyebrows. All is yet to be spectated.