Vasiliy Lomachenko takes his ‘Hi-Tech’ skills on the road at O2 Arena in London against the #7-rated Luke ‘Coolhand’ Campbell this Saturday on ESPN+. The co-feature matches Alexander Povetkin and Hughie Fury in what could be a competitive contest. An abundance of amateur pedigree will be on display in this lightweight title bout featuring two former Gold Medal winners. The southpaw versus southpaw matching gives Luke the potential to give Lomachenko a few looks he may not be used to seeing on a regular basis. Unfortunately for Campbell the same could be said for Loma.
Ever since taking his first professional loss, the two-time Gold Medalist has transitioned nicely to the pro game. Some think Lomachenko is the best pound for pound boxer and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Even in defeat to Orlando Salido it was evident he had adjusted to the roughhouse tactics in the second half of the fight. As we now know Lomachenko has looked flawless since taking his first ‘L’. That was the case until 2018, when some chinks in his armor came to light to an extent anyway.
Last May, Jorge Linares gave Vasiliy fits in a back and forth affair that saw Loma hit the deck. Vasiliy did manage to get back up and finish Linares in the 10th round with a straight left to the body. Lomachenko’s subpar performance could be explained with an injury, along with Jorge Linares’ talent offensively. Returning from shoulder surgery last December, Lomachenko got hit too much versus Jose Pedraza but was never in danger of losing the fight by any means.
Anthony Crolla was target practice for a fighter as skilled as Lomachenko, making it hard to tell if the Ukraine native is potentially vulnerable at lightweight. Regardless, Loma’s team and promoter have made it clear that he has no plans of drifting above 135, so that tells us something.
On the Luke Campbell side of the equation, the 2012 Gold Medalist has underwhelmed the U.K. fandom, considering he’s one of the most decorated amateurs to compete for Great Britain. As a professional Luke looked every bit the part as a prospect but loss to Yvan Mendy in his 13th bout. Luke strung together 5 consecutive victories after that, putting him in line for a title opportunity versus Jorge Linares just short of two years ago.
A few important questions remain unanswered at this point. Lots of folks claim Luke has improved in the last chunk of years but has he really gotten that much better? Mediocre opposition can be very deceiving, so we will find out Saturday. Is this a somewhat intriguing matchup because the 135 pound weight class isn’t ideal for Lomachenko? In addition, Campbell went tit-for-tat in his bout with Jorge Linares, a fighter that gave Vasiliy a spirited go-round.
Can Luke build off his Linares performance and turn in a career best outing to shock the world or at least prove his worth once again as a world-class fighter? On the outside using his length, he may be capable of borrowing parts of Jorge Linares boxing ability.
Campbell has a 71-inch reach, almost a 6-inch advantage, but can he keep the quick-footed and shifty Loma at bay? Campbell does a good job with his jab and uses his gloves to block incoming punches, but that’s not really an effective defensive plan when facing a sharp-shooter. If he can double up the jab, pivot, and clinch he could be a handful in spots for Loma. The main issue, Luke is wide open for left hooks and is completely exposed when he punches, especially when in combination.
At the end of the day Luke could have success in the early going but he’s just too slow-footed and stiff with a basic straight up European style. Beyond 3 or 4 rounds, Lomachenko will win going away by decision or late technical stoppage.
Side Note: Alexander Povetkin is fighting Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie and there is Charles Edwards vs. Julio Cesar Martinez. Also, the PBC on FOX features the return of Erislandy Lara and an interesting matchup in the co-feature between Sebastian Fondura vs. Jamontay Clark.