Vasyl Lomachenko moved a stepped closer to unifying the lightweight division last night as he clinched a hard-fought victory against challenger Luke Campbell at the O2.
Lomachenko, who is ranked as the best pound-for-pound in the world by The Ring, was aiming to pick up the WBC title vacated by Mikey Garcia in April, in addition to keeping hold of his WBA and WBO belts.
The Ukrainian faced former WBC sliver champion Campbell, and despite being a clear favourite, faced a tough test to overcome the Brit in London.
Lomachenko eventually prevailed via a unanimous decision victory, scoring 119-108, 119-108 and 118-108 on the judges’ cards.
Campbell produced a battling display as he chased his first world title, but was eventually knocked down in the 11th round.
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Desperate to hold on, Campbell even turned to some non-orthodox methods in attempt to halt his opponent.
With around 45 seconds left in the 12th, Lomachenko had Campbell on the back foot, landing a clever headshot as the Brit looked likely to be pushed into the corner.
However, Cool Hand grabbed the Ukrainian by the waist, wrestling Lomachenko to the ground.
The move left many spectators inside the O2 surprised, witnessing something considered regular in boxing’s sister sport MMA.
Despite the use of the illegal manoeuvre and slipping to the third defeat of his professional career, Sky Sports pundit Terry Nelson argued that Campbell exposed some weaknesses in his opponent.
Speaking to the channel after the bout, Nelson said: "He also proved to me that there is a way to beat Lomachenko. He wasn't good enough to do it, but there is a way, because Luke showed stick-ability, he showed boxing ability, he showed determination, and he showed that Lomachenko, even though he's the best at the moment, he's not at the top of his tree. There is a lot more to go through with him.”
While the aftermath of the clash left many feeling that world champion status could lie ahead for the Yorkshireman, the victory laid another marker of Lomachenko’s elite ability, as he sealed undisputed champion status.
The Matrix espoused a business-like attitude in his post-fight acomments, pledging to return the UK and challenge Richard Commey for his IBF title.
The Ukrainian will have to wait for a shot at unified world champion status, however, with Commey set to defend his title against Tiofemo Lopez later this year.News Now - Sport News