The Big Question: What next for Luke Campbell?

Boxing Monthly
02/08/2015 1:17pm

What next for Luke Campbell? Has the former Olympic gold medallist been moved too slow or is he on pace for a world title? Did his TKO win over cross-town rival Tommy Coyle prove anything? Boxing Monthly's online team give their verdict in this week's 'Big Question'.

Luke has been moved relatively slowly - in comparison to other London 2012 standouts - partly due to his father's on-going battle with cancer and secondly due to his inevitable showdown with Coyle. The fact that Campbell has looked so good whilst dealing with such family issues is a testament to his mental fortitude. The "Rumble On The Humber" had to happen. Cynics will say it's only purpose was to swell the Matchroom bank balance but in reality it was an opportunity to increase Campbell's fan base. This fight should have taken place several months ago but with no suitable indoor venues in the city, the bout would always have to be staged outdoors in the summer months. At the end of his career, I doubt many will lament the few months Campbell lost to set up a fight with Coyle. Campbell proved - what everyone knew already - that he is ready to be progressed now. Big domestic fights are almost a certainty. With lightweight currently standing as one of the weakest weight classes world wide, I'd like to see Luke in contention for world titles this time next year. – John A. MacDonald.

Campbell has only been a pro for two years, so while there is no need to rush him, he is 27 years old and should be looking at the British title sooner rather than later or he may stagnate. He’s confident, and technically sound. There’s only one way to find out how good he is, but this will come down to whether his promoter has faith in him and allows risky fights, rather than hold his hand, waiting for a soft touch title shot. Campbell dominated Coyle and, if anything, proved he’s able to cope when a big spotlight is on him. – TKO Radio.

There is no doubt that Campbell's career has been held up by the Coyle fight but Eddie Hearn will view last night’s promotion as a success as far as further enhancing Luke's popularity. It could be argued that Campbell, although leagues ahead of Tommy as far as boxing skills go, needed to pass the sort of physical examination that Coyle brought to the table and he did so with flying colours, his punching picking to the body a particular highlight. My only criticism of Campbell on the night was his reluctance to let his hands go when the pair were in ring centre, allowing Coyle to rush him too often but he finished the job in style in the end, only proving he is leagues ahead of Coyle. Somehow, the fight was billed as a final eliminator for Jorge Linares' WBC belt but I very much doubt Eddie will be chasing that fight for Campbell next - instead I expect him to take on another Matchroom stable lightweight maybe even Scott Cardle for the British title although Cardle May feel hard done by if they feed him to Luke after only recently picking up the title. Maybe Ricky Burns fits the bill before Luke goes on to fight for a world title next summer as Hearn suggested? – Danny Winterbottom.

The Luke Campbell -Tommy Coyle fight was necessary for Coyle, the people of Hull and for Eddie Hearn - it wasn't necessary for Luke Campbell's career. Saying that, it proved to be more of a learning fight for Campbell than most of us imagined. He went past eight rounds for the first time, he had to deal with a fighter intent on being rough and one who refused to quit. With the 'Rumble on the Humber' out of the way it is time for Campbell to push on. Stable-mates Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla are tied up with their own paths, any cross-promotion with a Frank Warren lightweight will not happen so that leaves options such as Scotty Cardle, Ricky Burns and world ranked opponents. The pace of Campbell's career hasn't been as brisk as we hoped but, as we all know, he has had a lot to deal with in his personal life as well as the obsession that became Campbell-Coyle. My hunch is that there will be a push to make Campbell v Burns. It provides Campbell with another significant step-up that comes with bags of experience. Ricky is insistent on being involved in big 'domestic' fights and both men will be paid handsomely for their services. Alternatively, a fight with someone like Sharif Bogere, Ghislain Maduma, Daniel Estrada or Javier Prieto could be worth its weight too, particularly if Burns goes back to America and Team Campbell have no interest in the traditional route of belts: Commonwealth, British, European. A world title is still a distance away but summer 2016, outdoors in Hull looks an increasingly good bet for Campbell to fight for world honours for the first time. – Shaun Brown.

So far, Luke Campbell’s entire career seems to have been based around selling out a rugby league stadium in Hull. In an ideal world, last night’s fight would have taken place last Summer but, finally, the Hull ‘grudge’ has been settled and the Olympic gold medallist can concentrate on reaching the heights that everybody associated with he sport feels he can. Tommy Coyle is a brave and capable British level fighter but barely won a minute of a round. Campbell is too sharp, too clever and growing too quickly to be physically bullied around and his pure boxing skills are on a different level to almost every other lightweight on the world scene. The man to truly test him will combine Coyle’s courage with elite level talent. It’s difficult to think of anybody with that mixture without looking towards the very top of the world rankings. After last night’s fight, Eddie Hearn mentioned Summer 2016 as a potential date for Campbell’s world title challenge. Conceivably, boxing fans may be able to channel hop and see Campbell’s successor as Olympic champion crowned in Rio. Luke has had some family issues to deal with outside of the ring which have contributed to the snail’s pace at which his career has moved but now is the time to let him off the leash. After spending years building towards a fight with Tommy Coyle at Craven Park, Matchroom owe it to Luke - and British boxing - to raise the bar and aim a little higher. The next stage of Campbell’s career should be spent building towards a fight with Felix Verdejo in Madison Square Garden. – John Evans.

If Campbell's win proved anything, it proved that he could handle the big fight atmosphere. This fight provided Luke with a glimpse into his future; big crowds, Michael Buffer on the MC duties and big money. He got to experience all the sizzle of a big fight even if the contest wasn't competitive. Campbell's family issues have been unfortunate and, without them, he would've scratched the Coyle itch a long time ago. Now he has, the traditionalist in me wants to him in with Scotty Cardle for the British title and to win it outright, but Campbell's ability is already past that level so a fight with former world champion Ricky Burns makes perfect sense. Burns isn't the Burns of old but is still fresh enough and, more importantly, still believes he's good enough to give Campbell a tough night’s work. If the fight was in Glasgow that would also provide us with a look at Campbell's temperament in enemy territory. Like Olympic team mate Anthony Joshua, Campbell's apprenticeship is over, it should be nothing but big meaningful fights from here on out. – Callum Rudge.

Photo: Lawrence Lustig.