8:45 (EASTERN TIME).
- -…boxing reports for ESPN.co.uk and several national newspapers.
- -covered British boxing for over 15 years.
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Luke Campbell rejected the training videos Ryan Garcia posted on his popular social media channels as irrelevant. Campbell insists that his experience with the elite, not Garcia’s 7.8 million Instagram fans, will decide his fight on Saturday.
The English lightweight believes that the knowledge and lessons learned during his remarkable amateur and professional career will undo Garcia’s excellent track record, which has made him one of the most promising boxers.
Campbell (20-3, 16 KO), 33, won a gold medal in bantam weight at the 2012 Olympics. His best performance as a lightweight professional came when he lost his world title to Vasyl Lomachenko in 2019 – while Lomachenko was considered number one in pound-for-pound battles – and Jorge Linares in 2017.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KO), 22, from Los Angeles, has not yet fought for a world title, but it was interesting to see. It has attracted a huge social media audience, but Campbell is not one of the millions of Instagram fans who have admired the speed of Garcia’s hand. Simply put, he didn’t believe in hype.
I don’t know much about him, except that he has a huge social media profile, a huge following, Campbell told ESPN. If you have so many followers, you have to get them interested in things and videos. For me, I’d rather just live my life. I didn’t follow his career. I had no reason to do that.
The video looks good, but there are many children who can hit the cushions quickly, but are not good in the ring. You can put 1,000 labels on the shelves in 5 seconds. But it’s not real. Nobody’s trying to cut your head off, just someone holding the pads.
Campbell fights with Garcia for the provisional WBC light belt at the American Airlines center in Dallas. The fight was postponed for a month because the English boxer tested positive for COVID-19. The victory would put WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KO) on the podium, who defeated Jurjorkis Gamboa in November.
Fault! The file name is not specified. A victory for Luke Campbell (right) would put WBC heavyweight champion Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KO) on the podium, who defeated Jurjorkis Gamboa in November. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
This is a great opportunity for a winner, Mr. Campbell said. I feel like I’m in the prime of my life and I haven’t reached the top yet or shown what I’m capable of. It took me more time than others to get used to the professional game and find my feet. I feel like I just got here.
I want to be world champion, he went on. I’m probably 70% more famous than other world champions, and that’s what I wanted to achieve – to become known to boxing fans because I fight at world level.
Campbell has done well in the title fights, but he is still trying to become world champion, just like his fellow British boxers at the 2012 Olympics: Anthony Joshua (WBA, IBF and WBO World Heavyweight Champion) and Josh Taylor (WBA, IBF Junior World Welterweight Champion).
Because of the losses Lomachenko and Linares suffered, he was able to learn lessons that Campbell believes made him a better boxer. He has learned what it takes to compete with the best in the world while facing major challenges. Two weeks before the Linares fight, Campbell’s father died.
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I didn’t think there was much difference with Lomachenko, and many laps were tight. Campbell said he hit him at the end of the lap with a 15-second punch. There were a few [tricks] that he won convincingly, but there were also a few tricks that I felt like I won. I learned a lot about fighting, and he was the best at the time, so it wasn’t a shame to go 12 rounds with him.
In Linares’ fight I showed that I had my place at the highest level, and I did it despite the many failures I experienced when I arrived in the ring, and I went anyway and almost won the fight. It was my mental strength that got me through it, and I thought I’d beaten Linares with two free kicks.
This decision of Linares gnaws at Campbell, who also derives his motivation from the fact that he thinks he pushed Lomachenko. After Campbell leaves his family and goes to the United States for Christmas, Garcia finds a dangerously motivated fighter in the opposite corner, convinced that he has too much experience for the Californian.