By Jake Donovan
PROVIDENCE, R.I.— The long-discussed lightweight showdown between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell has finally cleared the final hurdle.
Eddie Hearn, Campbell’s promoter confirmed with BoxingScene.com that there no longer remains any obstacles or fine points in officially moving forward with the three-belt lightweight unification contest later this summer.
“It’s a done deal,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com on Saturday. “We just finalized terms and I’m going to meet with Luke Campbell on Monday to present him with the final contract.”
The title fight will take place on August 31 in London, England, likely at the O2 Arena and will be carried by an ESPN platform in the United States.
Lomachenko (13-1, 10KOs)—views by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world today—will fight in the United Kingdom for the first time in his pro career. In fact, it will mark his first fight in London since completing his feat of back-to-back Gold medals in the 2012 London Olympics.
Those very same games saw Campbell (20-2, 15KOs) also achieve amateur boxing’s highest honor. The southpaw ran the tables at light welterweight to add to a hefty haul by the 2012 Great Britain Olympic Boxing team.
Life in the pro ranks hasn’t been quite as prominent for the British southpaw, who will turn 32 less than a month after his second attempt at a major title.
His previous bid came in a spirited decision defeat to Jorge Linares in their Sept, 2017 clash, having since resurfaced to the top of the ranks following a 12-round nod over Yvan Mendy last September. The feat not only avenged his first career loss but also claiming in the mandatory position in the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight rankings.
Campbell patiently waited out the title status of Mikey Garcia, who was already committed to a two-weight jump to face unbeaten welterweight title claimant Errol Spence. Garcia dropped a lopsided 12-round decision, then took another month before deciding he wasn’t ready—nor likely ever be—to return to the lightweight division, thus freeing up the title.
It wasn’t the news Campbell wanted to hear but at least left him first in line for a title shot. A curveball was thrown when he was told that it wouldn’t come against a WBC-top rated challenger such as unbeaten contenders Zaur Abdullaev or Devin Haney, but rather Lomachenko who as a unified titlist filed a petition to compete for the vacant belt, which is not without precedent.
Lomachenko became a three-division titlist following an off-the-canvas knockout win over Linares last May. The feat was followed up by a 12-round nod over Jose Pedraza in their title unification clash last December. The bout came after Lomachenko traveled to Manchester, England where countryman and longtime friend Aleksandr Usyk registered his final cruiserweight championship defense in an 8th round stoppage of Tony Bellew.
The electric atmosphere so overwhelmed Lomachenko that he informed promoter Bob Arum that a bucket list entry for 2019 was to stage a fight in the UK. It’s what motivated his decision to reach out to the WBC in efforts to secure a shot at the vacant title, willing to concede home country advantage to Campbell in order to make it happen.
“We’re really looking forward to that event,” said Hearn. “An announcement should be coming sometime (in the first week of July), even if the WBC tried to previously apoil the surprise by saying it was official while we were still sorting out final loose ends.
“But both sides are fully on board, everyone is thrilled and I can’t wait to begin promoting this event.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: JakeNDaBox