Three major lightweight belts at stake as Vasyl Lomachenko makes his UK debut as a pro, to face Luke Campbell
Pound-for-pound number one Vasiliy Lomachenko will face Luke Campbell for the WBC, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World titles on Saturday August 31 at The O2 in London, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and ESPN+ in the US.
Lomachenko (13-1 10 KOs), who went 396-1 as an amateur, won gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has won World titles at Featherweight, Super-Featherweight and Lightweight in the paid ranks. He fought for a World title in his second pro bout and won the WBO Featherweight World title in his third outing, dominating Gary Russell Jr. over 12 rounds. He made his Lightweight debut last May, tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in the second round and rising from a sixth-round knockdown to knock out WBA Champion Jorge Linares in the 10th.
Lomachenko added the WBO Lightweight title to his collection in December 2018, scoring a pair of knockdowns in the 11th round and ultimately winning a unanimous decision over two-weight World Champion Jose Pedraza. He last fought in April at Staples Center in Los Angeles, taking out mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla in four rounds. The Ukrainian’s punch power and supreme boxing ability have seen him rise to the top of the 135lbs division and on August 31 he will step through the ropes as a pro for the first time on UK soil.
Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) is ranked number one in the WBC and landed the mandatory slot for the World title when he exacted revenge over Frenchman Yvan Mendy at Wembley Stadium, London in September 2017. He was at his devastating best last time out as he stopped Mexico’s Adrian Young in five rounds in Philadelphia.
The London 2012 Olympic Gold medal star was superb in his first World title clash, being edged out via split decision against then-WBA and WBC Diamond king Jorge Linares in September 2017 in Los Angeles – with Campbell bravely pushing the Venezuelan close after losing his father in the build-up to the fight.
’Cool Hand’, trained by Shane McGuigan in London, now has a chance to establish himself as the number one Lightweight on the planet as he goes toe-to-toe with the highly-skilled ‘Hi-Tech’ at the famous arena in Greenwich.
“This is a fight for history because my goal is to unify all of the belts in the Lightweight division,” Lomachenko said. “Luke Campbell is the next challenge for me on that journey. He is an excellent fighter who I remember well from the 2012 Olympics. He has a difficult style, and I cannot afford to overlook him.
“It is very special for me to fight in London. I visited last year, and the response from the people was overwhelming. They respect my fighting style and are passionate about boxing. I can’t wait to put on a great show for everyone.”
“The best fighting the best, this is going to make one hell of a fight,” said Campbell. “I am in this sport to be the best to become a World Champion. This is what I train and work so hard for, to become a World Champion and fulfil my potential.
“He is ranked number one pound-for-pound on the planet so for me to fight a guy like that only encourages me more to be the best that I can be and it is exactly the level that I want to be at. I’m well aware of how good he is and what he is capable of doing but I’m also well aware of what I can do and what I’m going to do.
“I think that I can knock out anyone that I hit right, I believe that I am one of the biggest punchers in the Lightweight division. This is going to be the toughest fight of my life and I’m preparing for it, physically and mentally. This is Luke Campbell’s year, it’s my time.”
"This is a huge moment for British boxing," said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing. "It is an honour to bring pound-for-pound number one Vasiliy Lomachenko to the UK to challenge Luke Campbell for the WBC, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World titles.
"I truly believe Luke Campbell has a fantastic chance here on home soil to upset his fellow Olympic Gold Medallist. This will be a huge event, not just in Britain, but around the World. We’re planning another huge undercard for a special night of boxing. I cannot wait for August 31!"
“Vasiliy Lomachenko is a unique talent who is going to take the United Kingdom by storm,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “Luke Campbell is an excellent fighter, but Lomachenko is in a class of his own. The fans on that side of the pond have wanted Lomachenko to return ever since he turned pro. It’s going to be a crazy, sold-out crowd at The O2, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lomachenko has the crowd’s support.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have the finest fighter on the planet heading to London,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing. “This is a very special occasion and a golden opportunity for Luke Campbell. Two Olympics Champions going head-to-head and a huge bill at the famous O2. Do not miss this one off as Vasiliy Lomachenko performs his amazing talent here on our shores.”