Vasiliy Lomachenko was an Olympic Gold medallist and the fastest ever ever three weight world champion. So it goes.
Luke Campbell was also an Olympic Gold medallist, and world title challenger. So it goes.
London’s o2 welcomes British boxing back into its bosom this weekend, with a world class treat for us fight fans. A card deserving of its PPV status (read more from Hughie Fury & Joshua Buatsi here) is topped with a technical treat. In Luke Campbell and the champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko fans have two highly talented artists who deploy differing brush sizes and strokes. Together they could paint a beautiful, bloody masterpiece.
Saturday 31st August 2019 is a first chance for British boxing fans to see the masterful Lomachenko in person. Should Hull’s Luke Campbell win Loma’s WBA and WBO World Lightweight Titles along with the vacant WBC strap, it would be a monumental achievement for the British underdog, and reason for a party. Lomachenko is a p4p terror, a man Bob Arum has said (Vasiliy’s promoter, so, yes, he would say this) is the “greatest” fighter since Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali. A man who fought for humanity, a boxing champion and a legend. So it goes.
Everything, every belt, moves on eventually- is it time for Lomachenko’s titles to go?
THE CHAMPION: LOMACHENKO
Vasiliy Lomachenko- a man who needs no introduction, now, because it’s above.
Despite his one loss, a points decision to Orlando Salido in only his second professional and astonishingly first world title fight, Vasiliy Lomachenko has rarely looked in trouble. Last year Jorge Linares walked a perhaps overly confident Loma onto a straight right and gave the artist an unwanted taste of canvas, though.
Hi-Tech/ The Matrix (depending on source) rallied from the drop down and convincingly stopped the Venezuelan in a fight of a year contender. The win took home Linares’ WBA “Stupid” World Lightweight Title. So it goes.
Last December Lomachenko unanimously defeated then WBO world champion Jose Pedraza. So it goes. Pedraza however is the only man to take Hi-Tech the distance since Gary Russell Jr. in 2014. Russell Jr. was Vasiliy’s fourth fight, after which he went on a stoppage streak, all in world title fights, so fearsome it made world leaders quit beneath him like he’s the Satan spawn of Donald Trump and Mary Berry.
Hi-Tech/ The Matrix has fast hands and movement so slick it surpasses superlatives. He works out and exploits the angles and chess match of boxing’s technical side faster than Gary Kasparov after a speedball. Lomachenko does not appear to believe his own hype, coming across as demure and devoted to the romance of his descendancy. Does not appear, or rather disappearing, is Vasiliy’s speciality.
For all his hubris outside of it, in the ring Lomachenko is a show off and a bully. A brilliant, beautiful, engrossing bully: the bully we’re (let’s be honest) paying to see. A bully’s reign must go, and go it will. Is Luke Campbell ready and able to stop the brilliant, unpredictable blur and eloquent violence of a man teetering on greatness?
“The invisible attributes Lomachenko possess are truly his greatest assets. He’s beyond elite.”
British Featherweight Champion, Ryan Walsh
“I like Campbell but I think Loma stops him midway after not dropping a round.”
Former Southern Area Light Heavyweight Champion Chris Hobbs
“Loma makes Campbell miss with relative ease and will pepper away at him, wearing him down round by round.”
Unbeaten super featherweight Zaiphan Morris
THE CHALLENGER: CAMPBELL
Luke Campbell has fought three times since losing closely and bravely in 2017 to Jorge Linares, a man responsible for wrecking three British lightweights’ world title aspirations. One of those men he mauled twice. That man, Anthony Crolla, went on to face Vasiliy Lomachenko only last April. It did not go well for the popular Macunian, he was the unfortunate recipient of a determined and destructive Lomachenko fourth round KO.
Anthony was game, but frankly clearly terrified and utterly broken by the end of his encounter with Hi-Tech. He’s not the first, and won’t be the last to tremble in the face of the weird, wicked and wonderful magic the man wreaks in the ring. Luke is game and has come through his own hardships both in and out of the ring with admirable determination.
Losing your 0 hurts for any fighter, but the weight of an Olympic Gold and the viewers on a PPV event on your shoulders added to it must be crushing. Campbell cannot be crushed, though. Both in and out of the ring he has proved that. Luke avenged that first loss to Yvan Mendy after Linares beat him, then destroyed Adrian Yung in March this year.
That win, a five round beat down, displayed that Luke Campbell has developed a mean streak since employing Shane McGuigan as his coach. Coach, trainer, benevolent leader: whatever the kids call it these days. Campbell holds a vicious right hook in his arsenal, and has world level attributes in every department.
Particularly of importance to Luke are “focus” and “sacrifice”, which he mentions every three seconds. Wonderful boxer, just don’t get stuck next to him on a bus.
It isn’t a clash of personalities, this one. Lomachenko conveys as much with his limited English as Luke Campbell does with his. The fight between them isn’t exciting because of the men, rather their game, their exquisite talent. All things change, it’s just when and how they do. Luke Campbell winning this weekend would be exciting not just for the when and how, but also the where.
Forget the obvious height and weight arguments- if this was three weight world champion Lomachenko’s first fight at lightweight this would be a really tough fight to put your neck on the line for. Lomachenko versus Campbell is exciting as much for where it is as what it is. This is a home fight for Luke and a treat for Brits. Try as one might it is hard to see anything other than the tourist triumphing. Lomachenko needs to be outbullied, not outboxed.
Luke is an exceptional fighter and will surely win a world title at some point. Eventually all titles go.
So it goes.
With thanks to #TeamSouthpawJab fighters for their input and honesty