LUKE CAMPBELL is doing things the hard way. The Olympic gold medallist is a popular star in his Hull hometown, he headlined at an open air stadium in his professional debut. He had easier options but he chose to travel to Inglewood, California to take on the best in the division, Jorge Linares, at the Forum on Saturday (September 23).
“Because he’s the best. He’s the best champion out there. I’m not doing this the easy way. We’re travelling to his back garden, challenging the champion, in front of his crowd, on his show. But we’re confident in ourselves,” Campbell told Boxing News. “We get the win, it’s going to put us right in front.”
He has gone through gruelling training camp with coach Jorge Rubio in Miami, leaving before hurricanes struck the state. “We got out of Miami before they came about,” he said. “We got out in time so we were lucky really.”
“My preparation was great. Training in Miami was great, very hot over there. Having the pressure of the climate on top of you,” he continued. “I’ve worked hard, we’ve had some great sparring all to prepare for this fight.”
“It’s brutal definitely. Sometimes you see a fair few fights breaking out in sparring. I don’t even care anymore, it’s quite normal,” he explained. “Just had a good variation. I’ve been sparring Cubans, pros, world champions, amateur Cubans, Colombians, just a good mixture, a couple of guys from Kazakhstan. Just a good mixture of training and sparring. Like I say it’s been a great camp.”
After losing to Yvan Mendy in 2015 Campbell linked up with Cuban coach Jorge Rubio and he’s been on an impressive run since then, which included scalping Argenis Mendez and Darleys Perez. He has gelled with Rubio. “We’ve got a great relationship, he’s a great guy. He loves boxing 24/7, he’s so passionate about it, it’s actually refreshing to see,” Luke said. “We work well together and he’s good in the corner, he knows boxing. He does know his boxing, what he tells me to do, when I do it, it works.”
He admires Linares but isn’t getting carried away with the task at hand. “Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a look at him, but it’s not about what he’s going to do. It’s about me. You’ve got to think about yourself and about what you’re going to do,” he promised.
“I’m feeling good, I’m relaxed. I’ve done everything I can possibly do in camp. I’m on it. I’m on form.”