WBC Orders Lomachenko-Campbell Bout
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.
Campbell Kept Father’s Death A Secret In Leadup To Linares Fight
By: Sean Crose
“I probably cried once a day. I had to try and shut feelings off.” So lightweight contender Luke Campbell told the BBC after his WBA title loss on Saturday night to Jorge Linares at the Forum in Inglewood, California. “After the fight” the Englishman added, “I had a good cry.” The source of Campbell’s pain was the passing of his father, Bernard, who died of cancer just two short weeks before the Linares fight. Campbell kept the news of Bernard’s passing a secret, so as not to give Linares the impression he wasn’t emotionally ready to present a legitimate challenge.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
“I didn’t want Linares’ camp thinking it was a weakness,” the 17-2 fighter claimed. “I didn’t want them thinking I was hurt.” Campbell was in training camp in the United States when Bernard passed in the British city of Hull. The funeral for the elder Campbell will be held this coming Thursday. Although soldiering on in the midst of a parent’s death was difficult for Campbell to do, the East Yorkshire native felt it was what Bernard would have wanted of him. Indeed, Campbell made it clear that he feels his father would be pleased, even though he lost a nearly controversial decision to Linares on Saturday night.
Campbell, a former Olympic medalist, gave the respected Linares a true run for his money this past weekend. Although clearly the underdog, the taller southpaw got up from a knockdown and proved able to frustrate Linares with effective punching throughout the fight. Campbell wasn’t able to take away Linares’ WBA title, but he certainly earned the respect of the live HBO audience – an impressive takeaway for any fighter. “I think I shut a lot of mouths,” Campbell told the BBC, “and I thought I actually won the fight.”
Linares admitted that the leadup to the bout wasn’t easy for him, with many not giving him much of a chance to beat Linares. Enduring the naysayers while losing his father on the eve of the biggest match of his career proved to be quite the challenge. Campbell, however, rose to the occasion, as he has been known to do since his amateur days. The fighter once told England’s Mirror that boxing saved him from his own less than promising youth. “Boxing teaches you discipline,” he said, “and without that it was only a matter of time before I got myself into trouble with the police.”
HBO Boxing Results: Linares Decisions Campbell, Jacobs Announces HBO Deal
By: Sean Crose
Saturday’s live HBO broadcast from the Forum in Inglewood, California featured a twelve round lightweight championship affair between WBA titlist Jorge Linares (42-3) and England’s Luke Campbell (17-1). Linares, the skilled champion with titles in multiple divisions on his resume, was the clear favorite. Former Olympic medalist Campbell, however, didn’t come all the way from England to lose. He wanted Linares’ lightweight title – and entered the ring confident he would get it.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan- Hogan Photos/HBO Boxing
Antonio Orozco was supposed to put his 26-0 record against 35-1-2 Roberto Ortiz in a 10 round super lightweight match before the main event. Unfortunately, however, that bout was called off, as Orozco didn’t show up for the weigh in on Friday (he was reportedly over five pounds over weight).
Before the action started, however, middleweight Daniel Jacobs appeared before HBO cameras at the Forum to announce that: “I’m with the family. I’m with HBO now.” This was indeed major news, as many of biggest, if not most of the biggest, middleweights in the world are now HBO fighters. “You guys are going to see me on a constant basis from this point forward,” said Jacobs. It was a pointed comment, considering the fact that Jacobs has been less than active since his extremely close bout with Gennady Golovkin last winter.
With the news of the night out of the way, it was time for the WBA lightweight title bout. Campbell’s height advantage was telling right from the opening bell, as the Yorkshire native started flicking out his southpaw jab. Linares, however, was cool and collected. Linares started asserting himself in the second – and took his man down with under a minute to go in the round. Campbell beat the count, but was bleeding. Linares, still patient, started working the Englishman’s body. The third round didn’t have the excitement of its predecessor, but Campbell proved himself back in the fight. The fourth was competitive, and it was clear Linares wasn’t simply going to roll over his man.
The middle rounds were shooting matches. Linares came forward effectively in the fifth, but Campbell landed effectively, as well. Campbell continued to land well in the sixth…but were his punches keeping Linares off his gameplan? The seventh saw both men trading off, but doing so with skill and expertise. The bout was indeed close, though Linares’ heavier hands might have been making the difference in his favor.
The eighth was quite close. The ninth saw Campbell in the center of the ring while Linares looked for openings. In the tenth, however, Linares began to turn on the heat. The bout was competitive enough, however, for it to at least seem like the final two rounds might find the winner. Campbell engaged in a defensive strategy throughout the eleventh. Both men proved aggressive in the twelfth, though Linares may have edged it.
Ultimately, the judges ruled for Linares, via split decision.
Linares-Campbell Ready To Highlight HBOs Saturday Card
by: Sean Crose
Boxing’s extraordinary 2017 thunders on this weekend with a solid HBO card, broadcast live from the Forum in Inglewood, California at 10 PM -Eastern Standard Time – on Saturday night. The card, which will also be aired live on HBO Latino, features a twelve round lightweight championship affair between WBA titlist Jorge Linares (42-3) and England’s Luke Campbell (17-1). Also on the agenda is undefeated Antonio Orozco pitting his 26-0 record against 35-1-2 Roberto Ortiz in a super lightweight 10 rounder. Orozco is being pushed as the one to watch in this fight, and with good reason. Still, it’s worth noting that Orozco’s lone loss came at the gloves of Lucas Matthysse back in 2014.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
As for Linares, he’s certainly an interesting addition to contemporary boxing. Originally from Venezuela, the man now resides in Tokyo. He’s also held belts in numerous divisions, having previously been the owner of straps at both featherweight and super featherweight. Linares’ last two victories were against Anthony Crolla in England. Both fights went down in Crolla’s home town of Manchester, making each of Linare’s unanimous decision victories particularly impressive. Needless to say, the man has won his last eleven matches in a row.
His opponent, Campbell, is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist with a single defeat on his resume (to Yvan Mendy back in 2015). Since that line loss, the Yorkshire native has gone on to win five in a row. Saturday’s bout will not only be Campbell’s first fight in the United States, it will be the man’s first bout outside his native England. It will also be his first crack at a world title. Campbell, however, is exuding confidence in the leadup to this weekend, although he frankly is not expected to win. “This is why I am in boxing,” he says, “for the challenges.” Perhaps not surprisingly, heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua has thrown his support behind Campbell, his fellow British Olympian.
Although this clearly isn’t the biggest fight of the year, it’s certainly a solid affair and big things might perhaps be in line for the winner. Mikey Garcia has emerged as the big fish at lightweight. As the WBC lightweight champion, the California native can boast of an undefeated record and of recently having bested Adrien Broner in a high profile bout last July in New York. A unification match with the popular Garcia might prove to be both lucrative and popular for the winner of Saturday’s battle.