On Saturday, August 31st, unified Lightweight Champ Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10KOs) will face Luke Campbell (20-2, 16KOs) for the vacant WBC Lightweight title at the O2 Arena in London, England. If Lomachenko were to win this fight he would hold 3 of the 4 major titles at 135lbs and he would be one step closer to his dream of being an undisputed champion.
Lomachenko is coming off a one sided victory over mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13KOs). There’s levels in boxing and Crolla really had no business being in there with someone as elite as Loma. Lomachenko dismantled Crolla in 4 rounds, while knocking him down in the 3rd round as well. There’s only one way to fight someone like Lomachenko and that is to be gritty, rough, and a little dirty, while being the bigger man. It is unlikely that we see Lomachenko have much trouble in this fight either.
Luke Campbell is coming off a fifth round TKO victory over Adrian Yung (27-6-2, 21KOs). He only has 2 losses, both split decisions that went the other way. One came against Jorge Linares (45-5, 28KOs) and the other came against Yvan Mendy (43-5-1, 21KOs). Lomachenko defeated Linares via TKO in the 10th round. Nothing is impossible in boxing. Can Campbell figure out the matrix? Can he do the unthinkable? I really doubt it, but you never know; crazier things have happened.
Keys to a Victory for Lomachenko:
- Use feints and footwork to get inside. Campbell might not be on the same level as Lomachenko skills wise, but he does possess a 5 1/2 inch reach advantage. Loma will need to use his crazy footwork and pivot a lot to throw off any rhythm Campbell tries to get into. He will need to use feints to close the gap and land sharp combinations to methodically breakdown Campbell.
- Dont allow the fight to turn into a brawl. The only guy we have seen defeat Loma has been Orlando Salido back in 2014, in what was Loma’s 2nd pro fight. He was rough and gritty, and fought dirty – landing multiple low blows. He came to the weigh-in very overweight and was much bigger than Loma come fight night. Campbell wont have as large a size difference but he could try to initiate a brawl. Loma will need to use his experience and high boxing IQ to avoid this.
- Set traps. Normally I wouldn’t even mention this but Loma has a vastly higher Boxing IQ than Campbell and I can see Campbell trying to mimic Salidos style to give himself a chance. Loma can back peddle and lure Campbell in for hard inside counters. Campbell will probably try to swarm, throwing a lot of 3-4 punch combos in flurries. Loma can slip the jab, and land a hook to either the body or head, or even a straight left if the opening is there. A lot of things we can see Loma do if Campbell tries to brawl or swarm him.
Keys to a Victory for Campbell:
- Make it a dirty fight. I’m not a fan of dirty fights and normally I don’t advocate for them, but in this case, with the odds so heavily stacked against Campbell, I’ll make an exception. Fighting like a gentleman is not going to win him this fight. He needs to do anything the ref will allow him to get away with. Throw body punches right on the belt line, if some of them go low, then some of them go low. The referee may ignore some of the low blows. Throw elbows and try to cut Loma. He can drive with his shoulder or head into the chest of Loma when inside – this is almost never called and it inflicts damage like a punch.
- Use the reach advantage. Campbell has a 5 1/2 inch reach advantage. Lomachenko has to get inside to fight him. Pepper Loma with the jab, then move in with 3-4 punch combo flurries. Sure he might get countered, but if he’s landing accurately he will be giving more than he’s getting. Will for sure bust up Lomachenko a bit.
- Outwork him. Now some of you probably just paused like “what did I just read?”. In reality none of us expect this to happen, but if Campbell wants to win, it’s not going to happen with pure skills. He’s clearly not the better boxer, so he will have to outwork, out hustle, and just simply push Loma to his limits. He has to try to mimic what Salido did to have any kind of chance in this fight.
This fight is pretty clear cut. It may get interesting if Campbell can actually turn it into a brawl. He may even bust up Lomachenko a little bit, but in the end, we know what’s going to happen. Lomachenko’s technical skills will be too much and his punches will find their marks. My prediction: Lomachenko by TKO inside of 8 or 9 rounds.
You can catch all the action on ESPN+ at 1:00pm ET. For our UK viewers, you can catch the fight on Sky Sports Box Office (Sky channel 491) with coverage starting from 6:00pm UK time. This card is really stacked and looks to be well worth it. Other fights on card:
- Hugie Fury (23-2, 13KOs) vs Alexander Povetkin (34-2, 24KOs) – heavyweight
- Charlie Edwards (15-1, 6KOs) vs Julio Cesar Martinez (14-1, 11KOs) – for the WBC Flyweight Title
- Joshua Buatsi (11-0, 9KOs) vs Ryan Ford (16-4, 11KOs) – for the WBA International Light Heavyweight Title
- Joe Cordina (9-0, 7KOs) vs Gavin Gwynne (11-0, 1KOs) – for the BBBofC British Lightweight Title
- James Tennyson (24-3, 20KOs) vs Atif Shafiq (21-2, 5KOs) – for the WBA International Lightweight Title
- Savannah Marshall (6-0, 4KOs) vs TBA – Super Middleweight
- Connor Coghill (5-0, 0KOs) vs TBA – Super Featherweight
- Dalton Smith (2-0, 1KOs) vs TBA – Super Lightweight