Campbell takes on Lopez in Hull

Coming off an impressive fourth round demolition of the well-respected Derry Matthews in
October, Luke Campbell returns to Hull Ice Arena to defend his WBC Silver lightweight title, writes Owen Hammond.
Having not fought in front of his beloved home fans since his epic derby against Hull’s very own Tommy Coyle almost 18 months ago, ‘Cool Hand’ will be looking to put on a show against Mexican contender Jairo Lopez.It’s been an eventful 18 months for Campbell.
Following his 10th round stoppage of Coyle in front of 15,000 fans, the Olympic champion encountered his most meaningful fight yet as a professional.
Whilst it was a fight he was fully expected to win, his opponent Yvan Mendy had other ideas.
A combination of a problematic training camp, and a perhaps unexpectedly game and in-shape opponent, led to Luke suffering the first defeat of his professional career.
Two things happened that night: Luke lost the ‘0’ from his previously unblemished record, but he also learnt the most valuable lesson yet – that he is not invincible.
Many boxers over the years have had to learn this the hard way as Luke did, but many boxers would not have become who they are without such a lesson.
In many ways, the experience Luke gained that night has elevated him to a new level, not only in terms of awareness but also in terms of passion. That’s not to say he wasn’t already passionate about his chosen sport – that would be a ludicrous statement given what he has already achieved in his 29 years thus far. However, complacency is a common trait of ours as human beings and it is not uncommon for human nature to prevail when least expected or desired. If indeed this is what happened that night, it can only be seen as fortunate for Luke that it happened against little known Yvan Mendy as opposed to the likes of WBA king Jorge Linares or fellow brit Terry Flanagan who currently holds the WBO title. Both of these fighters will be naturally in Luke’s sights for the not so distant future, but both would also require a performance nothing short of his best if he is hoping to relieve them of their belts.
Moving on from that pivotal night in Luke’s career, three impressive victories later under his new trainer Jorge Rubio, Luke finds himself in what has to be seen as a stepping-stone contest. Like the Mendy fight, Luke is an overwhelming favourite to get the victory, only this time he comes armed with the knowledge of what defeat tastes like. This isn’t a taste he will want to experience again any time soon. We have seen something of a trend in Luke’s professional career for body shots, most notably against Coyle and Matthews, and this may well be the key to unraveling his opponent on 25th. If Lopez brings what is often
expected from the stereotypical Mexican warrior, Luke could be in for a reasonable fight. It will undoubtedly be onwards and upwards for Luke, and whilst he knows this, he also knows what can happen if focus is lost on the task at hand. Expect a game effort from the Mexican, but ultimately expect another razor sharp display from the counter-punching Olympic gold medallist, who should bring an end to proceedings within 8 rounds to remain on track for an impending world title shot in the coming months.

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