Luke Campbell adamant his title fight should go ahead after coronavirus hiatus

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Luke Campbell would have been fighting for a world title in more ordinary circumstances this week and he is adamant the coronavirus hiatus should have no bearing on his shot once boxing is given the all-clear to resume.

The London 2012 gold medallist was scheduled to fight for the vacant WBC lightweight crown against Javier Fortuna in Maryland on Friday night but all major sporting events have been suspended for the foreseeable future.

Muddying the waters for Campbell going forwards is Devin Haney’s status with the WBC, which stripped the American of the belt last December and declared him champion in recess because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Haney would have had the right to take on the winner of Campbell-Fortuna once fit but the 21-year-old last week petitioned the WBC to reinstate him as champion, insisting he will be ready to fight once boxing gets given the green light.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman backtracked on claims Haney’s request had been granted and is now reviewing the matter, but Campbell believes the governing body is duty-bound to proceed with his bout against Fortuna.

Campbell told the PA news agency: “(Haney’s situation) shouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

“This fight has already been made and it’s already been chosen for the title so as soon as we go back to normal, nothing should change.

“We’re still fighting for the title and then he has the right to fight the winner if he chooses to do that for his first fight back after an injury, that’s down to him and his team.

Campbell has twice before come up short on the world stage, dropping a split decision to Jorge Linares in 2017 in a bout many thought the Briton won before being more convincingly outpointed by Vasyl Lomachenko last August.

Both fighters have held titles across multiple weight classes while Lomachenko is widely recognised as the current best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

Campbell added: “I’m gutted about those two experiences but I’m not going to sit here and cry about it, I’m going to get on with it.

“It’s my dream to be a world champion and I will become a world champion. It just makes a whole for me. It’s just that slice of cake that’s missing to make the whole cake.

Luke Campbell, right, lost to Vasyl Lomachenko last August (Steven Paston/PA)
Luke Campbell, right, lost to Vasyl Lomachenko last August (Steven Paston/PA)

While the wide scorecards favouring Lomachenko painted an unflattering picture of their bout at the O2 Arena last year, Campbell would relish a rematch against the Ukrainian but knows he must first justify another meeting.

The Hull fighter added: “I’d love to challenge him again because it was a fantastic fight and I honestly believe given a second chance I can get that win over him.

“But I’ve got to earn that, I’m not just calling someone out, I’m going to earn that shot again down the line.

“Obviously I’ve got business in front of me that I need to take care of. I just can’t wait until we beat this coronavirus so the world can get on as normal and I can get back to boxing and doing what I do best.”

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