Britain’s 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell can hold his head up high following what was a breakout performance on Saturday night.
‘Cool Hand’, being guided by Shane McGuigan, put in a display which on any other night would have been worthy of a crown.
As it turned out, the pre-fight underdog in the betting on boxing at BettingLounge.co.uk, was pitted against one of the greatest to ever lace up the gloves in Vasyl Lomachenko.
Beginning brightly, Campbell took the first round on a lack of engagement alone before Lomachenko claimed the fight as his own.
Racking up the sessions, ‘Loma’ showed why he’s nicknamed, ‘Hi-Tech’ as he moved through the gears. In the fifth, it was almost curtains for Campbell.
The Hull man had his head rocked back by a couple of awesomely-placed punches and looked vulnerable against the ropes. A Lomachenko onslaught may well have ended the contest if there were more than 30 seconds left of that round.
Campbell knew his time in the fight would be at a minimum unless things changed drastically. The sixth was a lot better as Campbell used his superior height and reach to stay out of trouble.
In the seventh, the UK fans sensed something special could happen. Campbell had huge success and Lomachenko was visibly hurt.
A shot to the body followed quickly by a head connection saw Lomachenko way out of his usual comfort zone. If only for a few seconds.
It proved Campbell was able to get to the formidable Ukrainian. And was a lot more than previously opponents were able to do.
Knocking he faced an uphill battle to claw back the scorecards, Campbell stayed in the fight until the eleventh.
Sensing his opportunity as Campbell tired, Lomachenko went for broke and put Campbell down with a combination of blows.
Despite being there for the taking, Campbell was afforded a break until the end of the three minutes as Lomachenko got his breath back for one last effort.
But it wasn’t to be for ‘The Matrix’. Campbell saw it out until the final bell to his immense credit.
Wide scores don’t hide the fact that Campbell is ready to fulfill his potential. Coupled with the notion any other lightweight in the world would have struggled to survive that seventh round.
Lomachenko is an entirely different breed. Therefore, the Matchroom man can patiently await another title shot knowing his time will surely come.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay