Opinion

In the ring with Vasyl Lomachenko and Luke Campbell

Vasiliy Lomachenko
John Dennen speaks to Luke Campbell’s key sparring partner and the last man to fight Vasyl Lomachenko to find out what to expect when the two fight on Saturday night

ACCOLADES have flooded in for Josh Taylor, since he won the IBF super-lightweight world title. But there is no higher praise than that he’s received from gym-mate Luke Campbell and trainer Shane McGuigan – that he has been the perfect sparring to prepare for Vasyl Lomachenko.

“I’ve certainly given him my best to prepare him the best I can,” Taylor told Boxing News. “I’ve been trying my best to do things and work the way Lomachenko works.

“I think I’ve given him great preparation, trying to replicate Lomachenko, you never can replicate Lomachenko, the things he does and his skillset. I gave it my best and I think that probably was the best sparring he could get for it.”

The rounds he’s put in with Campbell lead Taylor to believe that Luke will acquit himself well against the brilliant Ukrainian. “I think he’s going to do great. I think he’s going to shock a lot of people. He’s very sharp, he’s got great distance control. Luke’s kind of deceiving,” Josh said. “He’s very good at keeping you at a distance and hitting you with fast sharp counter-punches as you’re coming in and as you’re going out as well, so I think he’s going to shock a lot of people.

“He is being written off but it’s kind of understandable with the calibre of fighter he’s in with, with what he [Lomachenko] has achieved; two weight Olympic champion, Europeans, Worlds, he’s a multiple weight world champion as a professional as well. He’s kind of looked untouchable in most of his fights. So you can understand the hype.

“But people that are close to him [Campbell] and in the know aren’t writing him off… We think he can pull off the upset.”

Anthony Crolla fought Lomachenko for the WBO and WBA lightweight world titles in April. Lomachenko knocked him out in stunning fashion. It left Crolla thinking of him as “one of the all-time greats.”

“He’s a very unique special fighter. A once in a lifetime fighter I think. Like I said, he’s one of the top fighters that ever lived, when you look at what he’s done as an amateur,” Anthony said. “For me the only thing that beats Lomachenko is him chasing that greatness, going through the weights.”

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Luke Campbell
Lomachenko destroys Crolla in his last fight Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Crolla though won’t join the chorus writing Campbell off entirely. “Luke’s one of our great amateurs that we’ve had,” the Englishman said. “I think he’s got to try his very best to make those height and reach advantages work, use them to full effect but then does Lomachenko turn that advantage to a disadvantage with how good his feet are? It’s very interesting.

“I think someone with the quality of Luke you’ve got to give him a chance.”

But fighting Lomachenko is an unreal experience. “You go in there believing. But once that first bell went, I thought it’s a little bit different this,” Crolla noted. “The pressure he puts you under just using his feet, you constantly feel threatened. Every half mistake, you get punished. I see why he makes a lot of fighters quit because he makes he them feel like he’s got an answer to anything.”

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