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Brit to solve 'Matrix' puzzle? Get Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell tips

Leigh Copson 27 Aug 2019
Lomachenko & Campbell meet on August 31 (credit:Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images)

Vasiliy Lomachenko, considered by many to be the pound-for-pound number one fighter on the planet, defends his WBA (Super), WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight titles against Luke Campbell on Saturday, August 31. Can he continue his dominance of the division and add the vacant WBC belt to his collection, or will the Hull fighter shock the world to finally achieve his goal of becoming a world champion? Read on for our betting tips & guide to the big fight.

Road To Lomachenko v Campbell

No boxer on the planet has enjoyed a remarkable rise through the professional ranks quite like Vasiliy Lomachenko. The 31-year-old enjoyed a glittering amateur career that saw him win Olympic gold medals and World Championship gold medals in two different weight classes as he compiled an astonishing record of 396 wins with one defeat (which he avenged twice), and it was not until late 2013 that he finally crossed over into the paid ranks.

After winning his professional debut he was given the opportunity to become the first fighter in history to win a world title in only his second outing, but Lomachenko underwhelmed on the night as he dropped what some considered a controversial decision to Orlando Salido. He would not make the same mistake again. In his very next fight he won the vacant WBO featherweight title and has not looked back, becoming a three-weight world champion and the unified lightweight champion of the world in just 14 professional fights. His last three performances in particular have staked his claim to being the best boxer on the planet right now. A 10th round stoppage of Jorge Linares and a unanimous decision win over Jose Pedraza saw him unify the WBA (Super), WBO and Ring Magazine titles, and he needed just four rounds to ruthlessly dispatch Anthony Crolla earlier this year.

Now Lomachenko has an opportunity to go one step closer to becoming the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by winning the one title that is not in his possession right now, the vacant WBC belt, and standing in his way is another man who won Olympic gold during his amateur career, Luke Campbell.

Campbell began his professional career only a handful of months before Lomachenko made his debut, and unlike the Ukrainian there were no early miss-fires as he racked up a 12-0 record that featured a string of stoppage losses. However, it would not be unfair to say that the opponents being laid out in front of him were much different to the ones being put in the ring with his opponent on August 31, and when ‘Cool Hand’ did finally take a step up in class he suffered his first defeat, dropping a decision to Yvan Mendy after a performance that could best be described as out-of-sorts. He quickly rebounded though with a run of five straight wins, and impressive TKO victory over Darleys Perez in April 2017 was enough to secure his first crack at a lightweight title.

That shot came against then-WBA and Ring Magazine champion Jorge Linares several months later and it ended in a second professional defeat for Campbell. ‘Cool Hand’ overcame an early knockdown and many, including one judge, thought he had done enough to come away with the victory. However, the other two judges gave it to Linares and had Campbell not been dropped early on in the bout, of them would have deemed it a draw, making the verdict a split decision draw. Instead it was ruled a split decision win for Linares, but undeterred Campbell has bounced back yet again with three straight wins, including a success over the first man to beat him in the pro ranks, and now he faces the biggest challenge of his career with all of the marbles on the line.

So can Campbell shock the world and become champion at the second time of asking, or will Lomachenko cement his status as the number one lightweight fighter on the planet by leaving London with the WBA (Super), WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine titles?

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell Tips

Make no bones about it, this is a gigantic challenge for Campbell and the bookmakers are not giving him much chance having installed Lomachenko as a 1/16 favourite while pricing the challenger at odds as big as 10/1. The bookies are clearly right in backing the visiting fighter, but I do not expect Campbell to go the same way as Crolla.

Campbell goes into the fight with a slight height advantage and a sizeable reach advantage, so if he can make the most of the latter and get his jab going early on, then he is going to force Lomachenko to be patient as he tries to find his rhythm and get inside that reach. It really is his only way to victory. But can that really be enough to dethrone Lomachenko, who in 14 fights has showcased a masterful blend of technique, fight IQ, footwork, cardio and punching power? Of course not. Sooner or later Lomachenko will take full control of this contest and when that happens he will add another world title to his ever growing collection. The question is, how will he win it?

Lomachenko needed less than 12 minutes to take out Anthony Crolla in April and he does boast a 71% knockout ratio, so it is clear for all to see that he packs a punch. Campbell, meanwhile, has been dropped twice in his career, but he has never been beaten inside the distance and that certainly makes me think he can at least last six rounds with the champion. Can he go the full 12 though? I am not so sure. Lomachenko could run away with this on the judges’ scorecards, but I am leaning towards him taking out Campbell in the second half of the fight. That knockout percentage and his knack for making opponents retire on their stool (he did in four straight fights) is just too much to ignore.

What The Experts Are Saying

Previous Lomachenko opponent Anthony Crolla told talkSPORT: “I think obviously stylistically, he [Campbell] is probably much more suited to have success than I was. For four rounds I reckon it’ll be a little bit of a chess match and I almost think that Loma will enjoy that to test himself – witting his skills, witting his mind against a fellow gold medallist. After four rounds I believe he’ll start getting in on the inside, landing shots, and I believe that he’ll probably break Luke up around seven or eight rounds. I think it’ll be a different fight to ours and I think Luke might have a bit of success, but Lomachenko, as I know, is very hard to hit.”

Former super-middleweight world champion George Groves on Twitter: "I can’t remember a fight in the U.K. between two fighters with as much talent and ability combined as #LomachenkoCampbell. An actual must see!! And @luke11campbell beats Lomachenko."

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell Tale Of The Tape

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell

Vasiliy LomachenkoTale Of The TapeLuke Campbell
13 (10 KOs)Wins20 (16 KOs)
1 (0 KOs)Losses2 (0 KOs)
119Total Rounds130
5' 7"Height5' 9"
65 1/2"Reach71"

What The Fighters Said

Vasiliy Lomachenko: “This is a fight for history because my goal is to unify all of the belts in the Lightweight division. Luke Campbell is the next challenge for me on that journey. He is an excellent fighter who I remember well from the 2012 Olympics. He has a difficult style, and I cannot afford to overlook him. It is very special for me to fight in London. I visited last year, and the response from the people was overwhelming. They respect my fighting style and are passionate about boxing. I can’t wait to put on a great show for everyone.”

Luke Campbell: “The best fighting the best, this is going to make one hell of a fight. I am in this sport to be the best to become a World Champion. This is what I train and work so hard for, to become a World Champion and fulfil my potential. He is ranked number one pound-for-pound on the planet so for me to fight a guy like that only encourages me more to be the best that I can be and it is exactly the level that I want to be at. I’m well aware of how good he is and what he is capable of doing but I’m also well aware of what I can do and what I’m going to do. I think that I can knock out anyone that I hit right, I believe that I am one of the biggest punchers in the Lightweight division. This is going to be the toughest fight of my life and I’m preparing for it, physically and mentally. This is Luke Campbell’s year, it’s my time.”

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Brit to solve 'Matrix' puzzle? Get Vasiliy Lomachenko v Luke Campbell tips

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