In this corner with Russ Anber: 'Loma loved being in London'

Russ Anber
02/09/2019 2:58pm

In his latest column, Russ Anber gives his view from the corner on working with Vasiliy Lomachenko and the Ukrainian's latest performance against Luke Campbell....

Fight week was great. Loma loved being in London. The crowd were amazing, at times it felt like Loma was the home guy.

The fans here really supported him and came out for him which I think says a lot about the British fans - while they support their own guy and cheer for their own guy they also recognise talent, the rare talent, of somebody like Lomachenko.

I think the British fans really appreciated the fact that they were seeing a special talent. At that point geography and nationality make no difference - the fans were just in awe of the raw talent of Loma. It was much like the reception that Usyk received when he came over to fight Tony Bellew. It says a lot about the British fight fans.

On fight night, both Loma and Luke Campbell put on great performances. Although the fight went almost exactly as I expected, I was very impressed with the battle plan that Campbell came in to the ring with, as well as the heart and courage he showed in the fight. He was very tough. Halfway through the fight it looked like he was gone, then he fought back. Then it looked like he was gone again later in the fight and he came back again. It was really a gutsy performance on his part. He offered Loma possibly the toughest fight of his career.

Campbell also did something that a lot of guys don't do when they come up against a great fighter - namely go for it. He really went for it. He tried the best he could. Despite the fact that Loma probably won ten of the 12 rounds they were ten hard-fought rounds he won. All in all, it was a great night of boxing. People got to see Loma at his best and got to see exactly what he can do.

Most impressive of all was the fact Loma managed to compensate for the massive size difference between him and Campbell. It was probably the biggest disparity in size we've seen in any of Loma's fights, which is something I think people need to take more notice of. By overcoming the physical handicaps he had working against him - the height difference, the ranginess of Campbell and so on - Loma showed just how great a fighter he is.

I really don't think people realise just how great an achievement it is for Lomachenko to have unified three belts in a weight class that isn't his natural weight at all. Unfortunately, there are a lot of naysayers out there, a lot of people who don't know what they're taking about, and don't recognise the greatness of what Loma has done in such a short span of time. There is nobody in the history of boxing that has won so many titles across weight class in so few professional fights. No else has even attempted it.

One British journalist asked Loma a rather bizarre question at the public weigh-in which sums the situation up. He asked about Loma's so-called 'lack of great opponents'. He almost worded the question as if to say Loma hadn't beaten anybody of note. When he asked that question I thought: you don't get it!

The thing is Loma is so great that he makes world champions and world-class fighters look like nobodies, even in the eyes of people covering the sport. I said to Loma, if you get asked that question again, say: 'just because I beat someone doesn't mean they're not a great fighter.' That's how you answer that criticism.

It really bothers me that people don't recognise the tough fighters that Loma has beaten. I mean, he's shut out guys, he's made guys quit on their stools who would never have dreamed of quitting before, and he's knocked top fighters out.

It's frustrating that some of the fickle fans and media we have in boxing can only see greatness when someone is in a life and death struggle. It reminds me of when Roy Jones was at his best and was so far ahead of the competition.

As for what's next for Loma, the Richard Commey vs Teofimo Lopez fight is going to happen and Loma is lined up to face the winner. On air after the Campbell fight in an interview with ESPN, Loma predicted a Commey victory. It will be interesting to see what happens in that fight. But Loma has also mentioned going back down to 130lbs and fighting Gervonta Davis. As he keeps saying, 135lbs is really not his weight category.

We will see. There's a lot of potentially interesting fights on the horizon for Loma.

Ultimately, size is the only thing that can beat this guy, if they put him in with someone who is too big.

Russ Anber is on Twitter and Instagram @russanber.
Russ was speaking to Luke G. Williams