Unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko appears to be headed toward a summer showdown against Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title.
- Lomachenko, 31, from Ukraine, currently holds the WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight titles and is considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
- Campbell, 31, from England, is a former world title challenger and former Commonwealth lightweight titleholder hoping to score big with a career-changing upset.
Lomachenko is a huge favorite on the early betting market. Boxing betting bookmakers tab Lomachenko a -2500 (1/25) favorite to defeat Campbell, the +1000 (10/1) underdog, should the two fighters meet as expected.
Lomachenko Still Healing from Injured Knuckle
According to the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire, the fight could take place in August or September. Lomachenko’s last fight was a four-round destruction of Anthony Crolla on April 12 in Los Angeles.
But that win, which was Lomachenko’s second straight title defense, came with a heavy cost. The hard punches Lomachenko used to fell his opponent also dislocated a knuckle on his own right hand.
Lomachenko will need to heal from the injury before moving on with his career. Still, as boxing injuries go, it’s probably better to injure one’s fist from hitting someone than just about any other thing that could happen.
While recent surges by other elite fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford have kept Lomachenko from being unanimously considered the best fighter in boxing, there is a consensus in boxing that Lomachenko is one of the top three fighters in the sport.
Moreover, traditional stalwart pound-for-pound panels, such as Ring Magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, have Lomachenko listed No. 1.
Campbell’s Opportunity Not How Promoters Hoped
It isn’t common for a major sanctioning organization to allow another organization’s divisional champion, such as Lomachenko, to fight for a vacant world title. But when Mikey Garcia decided to vacate his WBC title to focus his efforts at 140 pounds and above, Lomachenko’s team petitioned to allow their fighter the honor.
The WBC agreed, so instead of the WBC’s No. 1-ranked lightweight Campbell facing the WBC’s No. 2-ranked Zaur Abdullaev to fill the title vacancy, Lomachenko skips over the line and leaps up to the prime position.
Campbell’s promoter, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, wasn’t thrilled about that. After all, fighting Abdullaev for the world title is a much more winnable situation for Campbell than having to fight Lomachenko.
Still, Campbell is a gritty, smart and tough southpaw who should at least be a worthy opponent for Lomachenko. Moreover, the fight might end up being fought in the UK, something that could give the underdog, Campbell, a huge boost in his quest to become world champion.
Lomachenko Needs More Quality Opponents
Lomachenko is one of the biggest stars in boxing, but he needs a steady stream of good opponents if he hopes to become a legitimate box-office superstar. While Campbell is rightfully a huge underdog in the proposed bout, he’s also a solid step up in competition for Lomachenko compared to last time out.
Lomachenko opened an even larger 1/66 favorite against Crolla, and dominated the fight as expected. But more important bouts loom against the likes of IBF titleholder Richard Commey, rising undefeated lightweight star Teofilo Lopez and perhaps even former WBC titleholder Garcia.
Lomachenko would likely be favored over just about any lightweight in the world, but interest in his career might begin to wane if he’s solely inside the ring against fighters who have little more than a puncher’s chance.