While Felix Verdejo is making plenty of noise in the lightweight division stateside, the biggest prospect of the division, as so often is the case these days, might reside on the other side of the world. 27-year-old Luke Campbell, proud product of Hull, England, will take the next step in his promising career this Saturday.
Campbell has been flawless so far in his 11-fight professional career. Combining incredible boxing skills with the necessary grit which already brought him an illustrious amateur career, including a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in London in 2012.
This Saturday he will face his toughest challenge as a professional so far in slugger Tommy Coyle, who is also born and raised in Hull.
But how tough will this challenge be?
25-year-old Coyle is coming off a six-fight winning streak, which includes stoppage wins over Daniel Brizuela and Michael Katsidis. However, Coyle, who has 21 wins and two losses as a professional, was knocked down four times in his win over Brizuela and looked very limited in his last fight against journeyman Martin Gethin. Two years ago, he was stopped by fellow Brit Derry Matthews in the 10th round. Coyle has solid power but lacks technical ability to compete at the elite level in the lightweight division.
Campbell, on the other hand, seems destined to join the long list of current British World champions rather sooner than later. Not only does he hold a big advantage in terms of ability over Coyle, but he will also have a notable size advantage. It is, therefore, no surprise that the bookmakers are listing the southpaw as a 10-to-1 favorite.
The fight might be a huge mismatch on paper, but it is actually a very big deal for the city of Hull. The two local lads are expected to draw close to 20.000 fans to Craven Park.
“I am so excited about this one,” said Campbell to Ring TV. “My debut at Craven Park did 7,000 fans and the atmosphere was unreal. We’ve already sold 12,000 tickets this time, and everywhere you go in the city there are people talking about this fight.”
While Campbell and Coyle are only ranked No. 14 and No. 15 by the WBC, this fight will be for the vacant WBC international lightweight title. The expectations are that when Campbell passes this test, he is on a fast track to a shot at the WBC World lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares.
On the undercard, Brian Rose (26-3-1, with 8 KO’s) will have the chance to avenge his first-round technical stoppage loss to American journeyman Carson Jones (37-10-3, 27 KO’s). Ricky Burns (37-5-1, 11 KO’s) is set to return only three months after his tough decision loss to Omar Figueroa. ‘Rickster’ will face Prince Ofotsu (15-4, 11 KO’s).
Heavyweight Dillian Whyte (14-0, 11 KO’s) will return against Irineu Beato Costa Junior (17-4, 15 KO’s). When victorious tomorrow, Whyte is expected to face his amateur rival and Olympic Gold medalist Anthony Joshua later this year.
The card will be broadcasted by Sky Sports 1 and will start at 8 P.M. UK time.