By Alistair Hann
30th August 2019
British fight fans can witness greatness in the flesh on Saturday 31st August when Vasiliy Lomachenko showcases his skills at the O2 Arena against Hull’s Luke Campbell.
Vasiliy Lomachenko – The History
Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum has described him as the greatest boxer since Muhammad Ali and Lomachenko’s record is extra-terrestrial.
By the numbers, the Ukrainian is perhaps the best amateur boxer in history.
As an amateur, Lomachenko fought 397 times. Of those, he won 396 and lost one, which he avenged twice.
At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Lomachenko won his first gold medal. Then, four years later, he won another at the London games.
He also picked up World Championship golds in 2009 and 2011.
Having cleaned up at amateur level, he turned pro in 2013 at the age of 25.
By beating American Gary Russel Jr (24-0 at the time) in just his third fight, he became featherweight champion, equalling the record for the fewest fights needed to win a major world title.
Now, with 14 pro fights on his record, he’s picked up world titles in three weight divisions, and is ranked the best pound-for-pound fighter by The Ring.
Along the way, he’s made fools of elite fighters like Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Waters.
Currently, he holds the WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight belts.
So, what chance of Campbell winning those belts at the O2?
Vanishingly remote in the view our traders, who’ve installed Lomachenko as the bout betting favourite at 1/16.
Has Luke Campbell been underestimated?
Campbell is one of the best amateur fighters Britain has produced and also won gold at London 2012.
A natural lightweight, he has a two-inch height and six-inch reach advantage over Lomachenko, who is most comfortable at featherweight and says he will go no higher than lightweight.
A superior technician to fellow Brit Anthony Crolla, who Lomachenko left flat on his face in April, Campbell has a fine jab, solid defensive fundamentals and high ring IQ.
The only two losses on his pro record have come by split-decision. The first, early in his career, to the experienced Yvan Mendy, and the second to three-weight title-holder Jorge Linares.
Lomachenko also fought Linares at lightweight and was dropped for the only time in his pro career, before stopping the rugged Venezuelan late with a devastating body shot.
Could Lomachenko v Campbell go the distance?
It’s difficult to picture Campbell outboxing Lomachenko to win a decision, or having the power to stop the great Ukrainian.
But the Hull fighter may have the smarts to take the fight into the late rounds and even to the final bell.
Our traders are alive to this possibility and offer 9/4 on Luke Campbell to go the distance.
Loma’s Matrix-like ability to create fresh angles of attack, his blurring punch combinations and relentless application of intelligent pressure will likely be enough for the win.
But if the Brit uses his length, sticks his jab and earns Lomachenko’s respect with the improved power developed under trainer Shane McGuigan, it could be a longer night than most expect.