By: Sean Crose
Mandatory lightweight contender Luke Campbell, 20-2, was in line to face WBC champion Mikey Garcia before Garcia decided to move up in weight to face Errol Spence in an ill fated attempt at welterweight glory earlier this year. After being soundly bested by Spence, Garcia subsequently gave up his lightweight crown (although he remains Champion Emeritus), presumably leaving Campbell to face off against another contender. This being boxing, things didn’t end up as expected, for the WBC announced Tuesday that it was ordering Campbell to face none other than Vasyl Lomachenko himself for the green belt.
Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, and Eddie Hearn, Campbell’s promoter, are reportedly discussing the matter. Lomachenko is currently in possession of the WBO and IBF lightweight titles, meaning the winner of his fight will be unified champion of the division – though not undisputed champion – as the WBA belt won’t be up for grabs. “Excited,” the 31 year old Campbell told Boxing Social after the WBC made its announcement. “That’s the first word that comes to mind.” Campbell is clearly pumped about the prospect of facing the man who is perhaps the most highly regarded fighter in the sport. “I’m fighting the pound for pound number one,” he says. “This is where I make my mark.”
Lomachenko is now one of the fight game’s biggest stars. Not only does the man win, he tends to make his opponents quit – frequently. High level opposition such as Nicholas Walters and Guillermo Rigondeaux have refused to answer the bell after facing the Ukrainian’s use of angles and intense pressure. It’s been suggested that Lomachenko’s dominance has faded a bit as he’s moved up in weight, but the fact the multi division titlist has stopped the likes of Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla in the past year suggests otherwise.
As for Campbell – the fighter has won his last three fights since dropping a 2017split decision to the same Linares Lomachenko faced. He’s never battled anyone of Lomachenko’s caliber, but the 5’9 southpaw may well square off against the intimidating 13-1 Lomachenko at home. According to the LA Times, Arum is willing to have the bout take place in England. “I’ve already talked to Eddie Hearn,” Arum is quoted as saying, “and he’s looking for an appropriate venue in the U.K..” With boxing now being a major draw in Britain, the image of a large, hyped crowd suddenly comes to mind.
“This is going to be one hell of a fight,” says Campbell.