SOMETHING special is brewing in Hull. We knew that when Luke Campbell made his debut, with thousands turning out at open-air stadium Craven Park to see him dispatch Andy Harris inside a round. Two years on Luke returned to Craven Park in an eliminator for an eventual world title shot, a fight made all the sweeter for being against cross-town rival Tommy Coyle.
Rain showers didn’t dampen the febrile atmosphere. Campbell, England’s most decorated amateur boxer with European, World and Olympic medals to his name, was a level above Coyle, halting him in 10 rounds. (Read the ringside report in this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine.)
Campbell therefore is working his way towards a world title fight next year and quite possibly another outing at a stadium in Hull. In the interim he needs the fights to prepare him for world level opposition. The matchmaking for his next steps will be interesting to watch. His promoter wants big names for him from here on in. Ricky Burns might fit the bill. The Scotsman is a former two-weight world champion and has steadily been recovering his form. Ricky looked good on the Hull undercard until his Ghanaian opponent Prince Ofotsu was withdrawn too soon by his own corner. Or maybe Campbell could try to avenge Burns’ loss to Dejan Zlaticanin. The man from Montenegro is unbeaten and now highly rated. The latter has an aggressive approach and styles could blend for a good fight with Campbell.
Luke’s rise means Anthony Joshua is not the only London 2012 gold medallist who can take British boxing forward to a bright future. Joshua is set for a big end to the year. He has a rival taking shape in the form of Dillian Whyte, who holds an amateur victory over him. Whyte boxed in Hull, easily knocking out Irineu Costa to stay on course for his showdown with Joshua before the end of 2015.
Both those future stars have a clear path developing in front of them. It makes you wonder what the plan is for Danny Garcia, who boxed on Saturday night too, stopping Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn. He took the victory, which he needed, but is left much where he was before, talking of fighting Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter. Really he should have fought a name like that already. His win over Lucas Matthysse was superb but that was in 2013. Since then he’s been treading water, with Paulie Malignaggi coming after uninspired performances against Lamont Peterson, Rod Salka and Mauricio Herrera. The conqueror of Amir Khan is now long overdue a major fight.