Campbell can reignite career prospects with win over Merseysider Mathews
Lee Gormley | 15 October 2016
Campbell can reignite career against Mathews
Since capping off a fine amateur career with Olympic Gold in 2012, Hull fighter Luke Campbell has made a strong transition to the professional ranks and previously bounced back from his maiden setback against Yvan Mendy with wins over Gary Sykes and Argenis Mendez.
The Yorkshireman became one of the stars of the British team in London four years ago, rallying to success in the bantamweight division. Also finishing as one of two Gold medallist boxers alongside current world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Although, despite overcoming Ireland’s Pat Nevin in the 56kg final and subsequently entering the paid ranks along with fellow Olympic champion Joshua, the two Britons have endured mixed professional careers since their respective victories.
While Joshua has become the face of British boxing and been crowned IBF heavyweight champion within just 17 ring outings, Campbell (14-1, 11 KOs) has had to battle through a much more taxing path towards his desired goals.
The slick southpaw, now 29 years of age, has been well schooled throughout his time in the amateurs, where he also snapped up 2008 European Championships Gold and Silver at the 2011 World Championships. But he will soon have the opportunity to truly reignite his pro career.
After recovering from a shock defeat at the hands of Frenchman Mendy in December 2015, Campbell has scored back-to-back wins over Sykes and Mendez. He is next 2/1 with Coral to outpoint Merseysider Derry Mathews (38-10-2, 20 KOs) in what is set to be a tough test in the latter’s home territory of Liverpool.
Success in Liverpool can see Campbell flourish
Many expected ‘Cool Hand Luke’ to kick on and edge towards a world title shot himself in the lightweight division. This was in light of halting a brave Tommy Coyle in a battle between two Hull fighters, as he earned an impressive 10th-round stoppage success.
But his next appearance in London saw him endure a bitter blow against experienced French operator Mendy. Campbell lost his previous WBC international lightweight strap in a split decision loss in which he was dropped for the first time professionally.
Following the disappointing defeat and a subsequent three-month layout, Campbell recovered in style by finishing off Sykes inside two rounds. He then later got off the canvas to eventually dominate Mendez, being too quick and crafty for the Dominican Republic challenger.
Three months on from that last victory, the WBC Silver lightweight titlist is 7/2 to stop Merseysider Mathews inside rounds 7-9 at the Echo Arena. An impressive showing and triumph is potentially set to be rewarded with a shot at more illustrious belts.
Campbell v Mathews tips: Luke to shine
The 135lbs division is currently experiencing plenty of British success already. Manchester’s Anthony Crolla had risen to prominence as WBA champion before earlier being dethroned by a masterful Jorge Linares. Meanwhile fellow Mancunian Terry Flanagan reigns as the WBO holder.
Montenegro’s Dejan Zlaticanin is in possession of the WBC lightweight strap and American Robert Easter Jr boasts the IBF’s honours, with the pair being two possible future opponents for determined contender Campbell.
Before any world title talk can come to fruition for the Yorkshireman though, he must first deal with the dangerous threat of vastly experienced Liverpudlian Mathews. The Scouser is 10/3 to inflict a damaging second career defeat on Campbell.
The home fighter will be taking to the ring for the first time since his points loss to Mancunian ‘Turbo’ Flanagan in March and he’s confident of springing a surprise in front of his home fans.
“At first, when [Campbell] turned over [to pro] I thought ‘this kid’s special, I think he’ll go to the very top’. You don’t win a Gold medal if you’re not good at boxing,” stated Mathews.
“I thought ‘this kid’s special’…”
“I’ve seen his fights where he’s stepped up and to me, he hasn’t adapted to the pro game very well. So when this fight was presented to me by my manager, I jumped at it.
“Fighting in my home city, in front of my home fans, against a Matchroom fighter? It doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
Campbell’s latest dust-up with Mathews is in essence the definition of a crossroads bout for the visiting Hull fighter. Victory is set to propel him further towards a world title chance and defeat is an outcome that would have disastrous consequences.
“This is exactly the kind of fight I have been looking for and doing it in his back yard is even more exciting,” declared Campbell, who will enter at 11/2 to end proceedings in rounds 10-12 on Merseyside.
“I am starting to reach the peak…”
“I feel like I am starting to reach the peak of my professional career and Derry has some great wins on his record. I’m expecting it to be my toughest fight yet.
“This fight will engage the British public and that’s what I want, to entertain the fans and give them the big domestic title fights that can be made. My camp got underway in Miami and I can’t wait for a huge night on October 15 in Liverpool.”
With much on the line for Campbell heading into the lion’s den to face Mathews, the talented Yorkshireman has a platform on which to further build towards world title aspirations and emulate his admirable amateur feats with success in the pro ranks.
After reading our Campbell v Mathews tips, how do you see the former getting on in Liverpool? Have your say in our comments section!