Luke Jackson: Ready for Frampton
By: Oliver McManus
At 4.33 in the morning last Tuesday I was on the phone to Luke Jackson with the Australian in the midst of preparing for a bout with Carl Frampton, at Windsor Park, on August 18th for the interim WBO Featherweight World Championship.
A prestigious amateur talent, Jackson was one of six Australian medallists at their home Commonwealth games in 2006 alongside the likes of Leonardo Zappavigna and Jarrod Fletcher. With the goal of making an Olympic games the Tasmanian featherweight had to wait until London 2012 before he could achieve that initial goalpost and having shared a room with Jeff Horn, his company could be no more befitting ahead of this Summer showdown in Belfast – if anyone knows how to pull off an upset then it’s Horn.
Photo Credit: Luke Jackson Twitter Account
That’s enough of me rambling along, let’s just get straight into the interview –
How’s Australia, how is training going?
Well we’ve got six weeks to go and I’m in Sydney training with Billy Hussein, been in camp for two weeks now and obviously I’m always in the gym, relatively fight, so we started running a bit harder 10 weeks out and now, eight weeks out we’re focussing completely on our boxing training and sparring. We’re in good shape, we’ve got plenty of time and it’s all going to plan.
In terms of training are you looking at any specific areas?
Yeah, look, we’re just trying to improve everything that I’m good at and make it a lot more well-rounded. This is, obviously, a very hard fight but it’s something that we’re willing and able to do, we’re preparing accordingly and we’ve got a couple of different game plans that we’re working on so if the first one doesn’t work as well as we hope then we’ll mix it up and go with our second or third plan. I trust Billy Hussein and what he tells me to do in the gym – I just do it.
On the night under the lights I’ll just do the same again.
You’re stepping into Windsor Park, 18,000 Frampton fans, will that affect you mentally in any way?
At the end of the day it’s only going to be Carl in there, in the ring, and yeah the fans are going to be screaming but whether they’d be screaming for him or screaming for me, it’s still going to be loud and he’ll have that effect on him too – the pressure – it’s going to be the same atmosphere for both of us and I’ll just listen to Billy, I don’t really care what the rest of the crowd does.
That’s my attitude, they can’t fight for Carl and they can’t fight for me either, I’m sure he’ll enjoy having them all there for him but I don’t really care, I’m not focussed on that, I just want to win the fight.
What do you think separates you from Carl?
Well I think he’s achieved everything he’s wanted to do, achieved the goal of becoming a world champion, I haven’t. I think he’s on the decline since the Leo Santa Cruz fight, I think that was his best moment in the first fight. His motivation maybe isn’t what it used to be, I’m not sure, but I’m still chasing my dream and I think that will show on August 18th.
Many people have called you an underdog, does that label bother you?
I couldn’t care Ollie, I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t care. I’ve been an underdog all my life, I’m not even meant to be in this position but I am and I’ve worked hard to get here so people who say I’m an underdog and completely write me off are people who don’t really know anything. I understand there are some experts, so-called experts, calling me the underdog and I admit that Carl is an awesome fighter, two-weight world champion, he deserves to be the favourite and it would be ridiculous if he wasn’t.
But do I think I can beat him? 100%, 100%. Do I think he’s the same fighter as he used to be? No I don’t and hopefully I’m right in what I say and, listen, I can sit here and say whatever I want but I’ve got to get in the ring and back it up, Carl is a hell of a fighter, he got a little bit upset because I didn’t think he was a great fighter.
And I don’t think he’s a great fighter but that’s my opinion, take it or leave it, I don’t really care if it upset him. I’m still going to punch him in the head so it doesn’t matter what I say to upset the guy, I respect him as a man and I respect him as a fighter. Hopefully after the fight we can shake hands and have a beer together.
When it came to that press conference, did you say he wasn’t great to deliberately get under his skin?
Never, never, I’ve never been like that, I just meant what I said and he didn’t really like it. I don’t know why, I thought it was a compliment, I think he’s a very good fighter across the board, I think he does a lot of things very well and I thought that was a compliment. I don’t think he’s a great fighter but I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong many time before, but it doesn’t make me a bad person simply for saying what I think.
You only picked up boxing aged 18, 19, what was it that inspired you?
My life was a little bit chaotic and I needed something to keep me focussed and that was boxing. I was involved with the wrong crew, did some things I shouldn’t, and I liked the idea of boxing so I went with that and the rest is history.
When you started, then, was it a genuine expectation to turn professional?
Well my first goal when I started boxing was to see another country, that was my first goal, and then I went from that to wanting to see another country and then wanting to make the Olympic games and I didn’t really think about turning professional and then… well, I did.
Yeah because you got a bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games but didn’t turn pro until 2013, why was it so long?
I wanted to make the Olympics and I missed out on 2008 so I had to wait a long time to make that next team.
Since you have turned pro have you found that the amateur experience has made it a little easier?
Of course, things like me travelling to Ireland and fighting in someone’s backyard well, I’m used to that because I did that a lot as an amateur and the only difference is its more rounds and smaller gloves. I’ve thought guys just as good as Carl when I was an amateur so I don’t think I’ll be out of my depth, at all, my team has done a great job of getting me settled and I haven’t been in with as great as opposition as Carl has but I, equally, haven’t taken any punishment.
Carl’s been in a few hard fights and hopefully I can take advantage on the night.
I want to ask you a bit about weight cutting, obviously we saw what happened with Danny O’Connor, so just talk to me about that…
I’ll be honest making weight is never easy, it’s never easy, but it’s a part of our job and not many people will understand it but it’s a hard part, it’s expected of us though and no-one makes us do it, it’s a long process and we leave it to the last minute most of the time. I haven’t missed weight yet, I’ve had 113 amateur fights and 16 as a pro and I haven’t missed the weight yet but, yeah, it’s hard.
Danny O’Connor it’s very unfortunate and I wish him well but hopefully I’m never in that position.
I’ve never been a boxer Luke and I get that it’s all about maximizing your weight advantage when you’re in the ring but is there another reason why people don’t often fight one class above?
Because they (in the weight caterogry above) are too big, that’s the only reason, we’re looking to have the biggest advantage possible and if I went into the ring at 65, 64 or 63 then I’d be at a massive disadvantage to these guys because they can rehydrate much more.
Undefeated as a professional, what would you say is your best performance?
I don’t think I’ve actually had any fights where I was that great to be honest, I’ve never boxed to the best of my ability and hopefully Carl can bring that out in me and I’m looking forward to the test. I don’t think I’ve had any bad performances but I’ve not had any great ones either. I know I’ve got it in me and I’ve not fought to my full potential yet and that’s just my honest opinion.
Hopefully it can happen on August 18th because if I box the way I know I can then I’ll beat Carl Frampton, I know that.
Will you look better when you fight better opponents, then?
Yeah, yeah, I think so, I hate to keep bringing it up but I’ve fought some of the best amateurs in the world and I’ve beaten them so I just haven’t had the right guys in front of me as a professional so far and that’s not necessarily my fault, things happen, and I’m really looking forward to being the best I can be against Carl Frampton and at the end of the day I’m working hard, putting everything into it, and I’m going over there to upset the party.
When things get tough, what is it that motivates you?
I mean I’ve been doing this for 16 years mate and I always here a couple of mates who started off with me saying that I was never the most talented or anything but I stuck it out and I turned up every day, worked hard and kept going when everyone else didn’t and that’s the reason I’m here now because I put the hard work in from the beginning and I’m continuing that hard work.
I won’t lie, if I win this fight then the money will be a massive incentive for me and I want the money out of this game.
If we assume that you get past Carl Frampton have you get any opponents you would like afterwards?
If I beat Carl and it’s a good fight then I’d be happy with a rematch if he wants it or I wouldn’t mind Josh Warrington or Oscar Valdez.
Would you want them in Australia?
I don’t really care where I fight as long as the money is good.
Have you got a specific vision of how August 18th will go?
I don’t know, I’ve got a plan that I’ll walk him onto a right hand and stop him. I keep having visions that he’s going to walk onto a big right hand that’ll hurt and then I’ll got the job done but I know I can box for 12 rounds and beat him on points. I’m confident that if I hit him clean then he’ll go, he’s not invincible and I’ve seen him get dropped, we’ve all seen it, I’ve seen him hurt but he’s never seen me dropped or hurt so that’s another thing to give me confidence – I haven’t been on the deck and I’m hoping to put him on his arse if he comes in reckless.
Do you think there is a danger of him, perhaps, under-estimating you?
If he does that then he’ll get a rude shock when he walks onto a couple of my shots with the little 8oz gloves on, let him do that and let him underestimate and he’ll see what it’s all about. Like I said, we’ve still got to get in there and fight, a lot is still to happen, I’m focussed on working hard and getting the job done.
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.