sports gazette

Luke Campbell: British Boxing’s Forgotten Man

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Published: 23 Sep 2017

Luke Campbell takes on Jorge Linares in the early hours of Sunday morning, in a bid to become WBA lightweight champion of the world.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Campbell, then 22, managed to fulfil his dream of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 56KG Bantamweight division and was joined in this feat by countrymen Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua.

The latter has gone on to become a world-renowned sensation in his own right, while Adams has enjoyed relatively big success in the media after becoming the first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing medal.

Indeed, Joshua has competed in multiple world title fights, sold out stadiums, had BBC documentaries made about him and currently holds IBF, IBO and WBA heavyweight crowns. Adams, meanwhile, has also had her fair share of the spotlight, being awarded an MBE in 2013 and an OBE thereafter, both for services to boxing.

However, Campbell, now twenty-seven, has failed to match the achievements of his former teammates, nor reach the same level of adulation. After turning professional following his gold medal triumph, he fell out of the public consciousness, but has clawed his way back up the rankings.

While it took him twelve fights to get a title shot, Joshua fought only nine times before being crowned WBC International lightweight champion. In that fight, Campbell’s defeat to Yvan Mendy led many to doubt his ability to become a world champion.

Perhaps question marks over Campbell being ‘marketable’ could have played its part but since then, ‘Cool Hand’ Campbell’s boxing record has been inspiring, racking up an impressive seventeen wins with a single loss.
And with that record, it would seem Campbell is starting to gain some much-deserved recognition, headlining his first US show, and his first world title shot, this Saturday in Los Angeles.

Speaking to BBC SPORT, Campbell admitted his opponent is the ‘‘full Package” but insisted “this is why I’m in boxing, for the challenges”.

With media and fans alike dismissing the former Olympic Gold medallist as merely a warm up fight for Linares, as he targets to claim more gold in the lightweight division, Campbell knows he is a big underdog in this fight.

Further questions have been asked by BBC Sport Boxing Correspondent Mike Costello, who, speaking on Radio 5 Live said “I don’t want to dismiss Luke or be disparaging, but he is in a sense the forgotten London 2012 Gold medallist. We hear so much about Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams, he can change that this weekend.”

Indeed, Campbell has a tough task on his hands, and whether these opinions prove to be true, only time will tell.

Luke Campbell takes on Jorge Linares for the WBA Lightweight title this Sunday at 3am live on Sky Sports.

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