FOUR years ago precisely the Olympic Games began in London. Luke Campbell made his name then, winning the gold medal to confirm his status as England’s most decorated amateur boxer. It’s been an eventful ride to follow; he’s been awarded an MBE, made his debut before a teeming crowd at an open air stadium in Hull, dispatched a local rival in Tommy Coyle, dazzled more often than not but still had to stomach a sickening loss to Yvan Mendy.
“A lot has happened but not necessarily a lot has changed in my life. I’m still dedicated to boxing, I’m still training all the time, I’ve still got the same friends that I hung out with before the Olympics, the same members of family around me so my life hasn’t changed in that respect. Obviously I’m in the public eye and people know me, I’m getting more well known and that’s the only difference what it’s made to my life,” he said. “I live a simple life really. I’m a family man and I do my boxing and I try and help the community out in my area when I can.”
He has set up training camp in America with Jorge Rubio and goes into a key clash with Argenis Mendez, a former world champion, in Leeds on Saturday (July 30). “Preparing for a fight we want to stay focused and be in the zone and work hard. It all comes together. I’m isolated away from my family and friends [in camp in Miami], that is true – it’s a tough game so you need to prepare yourself the best you can,” Luke tells Boxing News.
In America he also gets a wide variety of training partners. “I spar with Cuban world champions as amateurs, Colombians, Argentinians, professionals. I spar [Breidis] Prescott out there, I sparred unbeaten professionals out there from Kazakhstan, America, all over the place, it’s a real good mixture,” he continued. “This one’s been very tough.
“The weaknesses, the strengths, we work on them all. I’d been going to see Jorge for a year and a half before I made the full time move. The first time I ever trained with him we just connected well, hit it straight off… I’m sure you guys will see the difference in the ring.”
Mendez is his highest level opponent yet but victory could propel him to the upper echelons of the lightweight division. “It’s definitely my biggest test so far. He’s a quality fighter, a lot of skill, a former world champion, been in with all the best. That being said it’s also a great opportunity for me as well,” Luke said. “
“It’s boxing, anything can happen. You go in there and do what you’ve got to do and react to whatever’s in front of you,” he continued. “We’ll win this title [WBC silver] and look good, make a statement and then it’ll put us in good stead, like you say, for potentially a world championships and then I can get in the mix in Britain with all the likes of [Anthony] Crolla and everything else.”