Far too often in modern day boxing fighters are able to challenge and win world titles without having faced a truly world class opponent. In the case of Luke Campbell and his first shot at a world title, such a sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth as he battles the fantastic Jorge Linares.
Campbell a 29-year-old from Hull, will travel to American to challenge Linares at the Forum, Inglewood, California on September 23rd with the WBA, WBC Diamond and The Ring Magazine titles on the line in a contest that is rather refreshing.
Far too often a first-time world title challenger will be managed and manoeuvred in such a way that he avoids fighting the truly best fighters in his weight class. Either a vacant belt is challenged for or the picking of the perceived weakest champion takes place with as little risk as possible exerted.
Whilst this may in many ways makes business sense it does lead to a series of fighters holding belts despite many feeling that they are not the best in their respective division.
This will not be the case when Campbell faces Linares. The Venezuelan is a hugely talented world champion and everyone is aware just how tough a task Campbell faces if he is to fulfil his undoubted potential.
When speaking of potential it has to be remembered that Campbell is Britain’s most successful amateur boxer having won Olympic and European Gold as well as World Championship Silver and many others.
When Campbell turned professional in 2013 he appeared a boxer destined to become a world champion. He blitzed through a series of opponents and by 2015 had headlined a show and dominated fellow Hull native Tommy Coyle in emphatic fashion.
He seemed a man quickly on his way to the top of the sport when suddenly disaster was to strike with a shocking defeat to Frenchman Yvan Mendy. The fight was seen largely as a keep busy fight and went under the radar on the undercard of the hotly anticipated Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte grudge match.
Campbell just didn’t show up on the night and looked a shadow of the fighter fans had seen previously. He was bullied in the ring, looking short of ideas and power and rightly suffered a points loss.
This was a major setback that no one anticipated and lead many to question just how good he was. The defeat made Campbell take stock and assess his options deciding that a change was required.
A new trainer was announced in the form of Jorge Rubio who was once the trainer of the famed Cuban national amateur boxing team and has worked with the likes of Amir Khan and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Campbell now trains in Miami away from his family in a bid to make the most out of his potential and achieve at the highest level of the sport.
Since linking up with Rubio, Campbell appears back on track having defeated the likes of Gary Sykes, Argenis Mendez, Derry Mathews, Jairo Lopez and most recently former world champion Darleys Perez.
The man now standing in his way of becoming world champion is the aforementioned Jorge Linares who is extremely well known to British fight fans having defeated Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla (twice) on British soil.
Linares is also now based in London working with the likes of David Haye under the tutelage of trainer Ismael Salas.
Aged 31 Linares holds a 42-3 professional record containing 27 wins by way of knockout. He is a highly experienced, multiple weight world champion who has fought all over the world. He is tough, has a remarkable punch variety and is all around a classy boxer.
For Linares, this fight represents the chance to become a headline fighter in America with the contest being broadcast on HBO. This will be Linares’ first time headlining a major show in the States and knows that an impressive performance will lead to more.
This is an intriguing matchup that sees the pitting of two highly skilled, technical boxers. In terms of predicting a winner, the favourite has to be regarded as Jorge Linares. He is in many respects a hugely underrated fighter but there is no doubting his class.
Many will expect Linares to prove too much for Campbell at this stage of their respective careers with his hurtful combinations and unorthodox style causing serious problems.
You cannot write off Campbell though as he is a hungry fighter determined to prove himself at the highest level. He is a very good boxer and has showcased the ability to breakdown and stop opponents and will be hopeful of doing so once again.
Either way, a good, entertaining fight is anticipated and if that is the case then the true winner here is the fans.