Vasyl Lomachenko vs Luke Campbell betting preview : The Olympic champions are great value to go the distance
- The O2, London
- Saturday 31 August
- Live on Sky Sports
The greatest boxer alive comes to London this weekend to take on the best lightweight challenger that the UK has to offer, but just like all other challengers for his throne, Luke Campbell will not have enough to usurp Vasyl Lomachenko as the world’s finest pugilist. The card also features an intriguing heavyweight contest between Hughie Fury and Alexander Povetkin.
Tough Task for Hughie Fury
Before we get to the main event we will see a heavyweight clash between Hughie Fury and Alexander Povetkin, which is an intriguing clash between a skilled young fighter and the veteran trying to prove he is still capable at the top of the game.
Fury (23-2) has been around a while now but is still only 24-years-old, while Povetkin (34-2) has been around forever, since winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic games when Fury was not quite 10-years-old.
Povetkin has only lost to the very best, being outpointed by Wladimir Klitschko somewhere near his prime and splattered by a confident Anthony Joshua when he was still unbeaten. Other than that he has been in and around the elite of heavyweight boxing for 15 years. There have not really been big names to beat in that time, but he has comfortably seen off all the fringe contenders of the era.
Meanwhile, Fury has built up an impressive looking record, but with no really impressive wins on it. Of all his 23 victories, a unanimous points win over Andriy Rudenko is arguably the highlight. Samuel Peter is a recognisable name on his record, but that knockout victory earlier this year was against a man so far past his prime that it is barely worth mentioning.
The two times Fury has stepped up in competition, against Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev, he has lost. He was not stopped, and arguably did enough to beat Parker, but he lost on both occasions. Leaving him firmly below world level in realistic estimation.
Povetkin was quite badly sparked by Joshua, but we cannot assume that has finished him off and throughout his long career he has been more than a level above Fury. Hughie has a defensive and movement-based style that should keep him away from the power punches, but will only lead him to another points loss when he takes on a higher level of competition.
The main event sees Lomachenko grace British shores with his presence to defend his WBA, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles against Campbell, while a vacant WBC strap is also on the line at 135lbs.
Lomachenko (13-1) has picked up world titles in three weight divisions in a professional career that has lasted just 14 fights in less than six years. Other than his controversial, and frankly ridiculous, loss to Orlando Salido in his second pro fight, the Ukrainian has been near perfect as he rose through the featherweight and super featherweight divisions.
The only criticism of him at those weight classes is that he never really attempted to unify either division. He is putting that right at lightweight, though, as he aims to add the WBC title on Saturday night, leaving just Richard Commey’s IBF belt to acquire for complete dominance of the landscape.
Some thought lightweight might be a weight division too far, too soon for Loma, but his three bouts at 135lbs have seen him against former world champions – Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza and Anthony Crolla – and he has won all three pretty comfortably, barring some minor trouble with the excellent Linares.
The man known at Hi-tech has two Olympic gold medals to his name and sits atop most boxing observer’s pound-for-pound list. Vanquished foe Crolla explained just how good the champion is, telling the Guardian: ‘A few minutes into the fight it dawns on you. You start realising how well he is judging the distance and how every slight mistake is getting punished. I prepared the best I possibly could. I’d watched him for years but I couldn’t seem to get near him. He was so hard to hit – that was the main thing – but he also hit a little harder than I expected.’
Campbell (20-2) is an Olympic gold medallist himself and a very good professional boxer but he is simply not on the level of Lomachenko, a level which no other boxer is on. The Yorkshireman has never faced anyone with the skills of the Ukrainian – because no one exists with those skills – but he lost in his step up to somewhere near Loma’s level, when Linares beat him in 2017.
What Campbell does have over his opponent is a significant height and reach advantage. Two inches in height and, more importantly, nearly six inches in reach should give Campbell some space to work with against the champion. Lomachenko’s ability to make angles and get inside opponents is incredible, but Campbell is extremely skilled himself and will be working hard to use his advantages to keep Loma at bay.
Hi-tech has knocked out 10 of his 13 beaten opponents, but generally doesn’t have one-punch knockout power, it is more an accumulation of heavy shots and prolonged, sustained attacks that wear opponents down. Campbell has never been stopped and he should be able to use his own amateur pedigree to stay away from too much of these flurries from the champion.
Pedraza went 12 rounds with Lomachenko last year, he lost at least nine of them, but he went the distance, and showed that you can survive with the champ if you are willing to stick rigidly to your defensive principles. Campbell will do this for the first half of the fight, at least, and while he will have to gamble on taking the fight to Lomachenko late on, he has the chin, toughness and general defensive skill to avoid a knockout.
Like all Lomachenko’s fights, this will be one-sided, but Campbell is more than good enough to go 12 rounds with the champion.
- Lomachenko has won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight.
- Hi-tech won Olympic gold medals in 2008 at featherweight and 2012 at lightweight
- Campbell won 2012 Olympic gold at bantamweight
- Lomachenko has 10 knockouts in 13 professional wins
- Campbell has a better knockout rate, with 16 in 20 victories
- The fighters made their professional debuts just three months apart in 2013
- Campbell holds a two inch height and six inch reach advantage over Lomachenko
- Campbell lost in his only previous world title shot, to Jorge Linares in 2017
- Lomachenko's only defeat came in his second pro fight for a featherweight world title
- This is Lomachenko's first pro fight in the UK