Vasily Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell possible for August on PPV in UK
By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn is saying that the fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title between Vasyl Lomachenko and Luke Campbell will need to be on Sky Box Office pay-per-view if the fight takes place in the UK. Hearn states that it’ll cost too much to put the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight together for UK, so it’ll need to be on PPV. Speaking to IFL TV, Hearn said that he wants the fight to take place in late August at either the O2 Arena in London or the KCOM Stadium in Hall.
One area of concern that Hearn has in regards to the negotiatons for the Lomachenko-Campbell fight is the purse split. Hearn states that it MUST be a 50-50 split, because Lomachenko won’t be going into the fight with Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) as if he’s already the WBC champion lightweight champion. It doesn’t matter that Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) holds the WBA and WBO 135-pound titles. The only thing that is important is he and Campbell will both be contending for the vacant World Boxing Council lightweight title that was recently vacated by Mikey Garcia.
Hearn is NOT happy that the WBC is allowing Lomachenko to fight for the vacant WBC title against Campbell instead of one of the top five contenders like #2 WBC Zaur Abdullaev or #3 WBC Devin Haney. Hearn thinks it’s not fair to those fighters, as well as the other top 15 contenders in the WBC’s rankings for them to allow Lomachenko to get in front of them to fight for the vacant WBC belt against Campbell. Hearn states that the WBC wouldn’t let IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey fight for their WBC belt against Campbell. As such, the conclusion that Hearn makes from this is the WBC WANTS Lomachenko as their WBC lightweight champion for some reason. Hearn is counting on Campbell to foil those plans in August by beating the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko.
”Luke Campbell vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko; the good news is it’s a really good fight,” Hearn said to IFL TV. ”I got some stick because I said, ‘I thought he could win.’ I feel like Luke is one of the few fighters in the division that can give Lomachenko problems…He knows Lomachenko inside and out from the amateurs. They’re both Olympic gold medalists. The downside of it is it was the wrong decision by the WBC. What about all the other people that have working up; not just Devin Haney but Abdullaev is number 2. I’m not sulking because Devin Haney didn’t get a shot. I’m just saying that the whole point of working your way up the governing body, challenging for, defending the minor titles, paying sanctioning fees, being loyal to one governing body, when a title frees up, it goes down the rankings and you get your shot. So if I’m Abdullaev and I’ve won the Silver title, and I’ve defended it a couple of times, I’m thinking, ‘This is great, because Mikey Garcia has vacated. The Lucas Campbell fight can be made.’ That’s the rules of the WBC. The first two available fighters [fight for the vacant title],” Hearn said.
It does seem very odd what the WBC has chosen to do in ordering Lomachenko and Campbell to fight for their vacant WBC title. It breaks from tradition with the WBC for what normally happens when they have a vacant title. They normally don’t let other champions swoop in and fight the highest ranked contender for the vacant WBC title. Instead, the sanctioning body orders the two highest ranked contenders in their top 15 to fight for the vacant belt. What happened in this case is Lomanchenko, a highly popular fighter with two belts at 135, petitioned to the WBC for him to be allowed to fight Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title. Surprisingly, the WBC granted Lomachenko’s request to fight for the belt.
Lomachenko would have been able to eventually fight for the WBC title anyway, as Campbell would have been open to the idea of fighting him for the belt. But the WBC’s decision to order Lomachenko and Campbell fight it out for the vacant title has hurried the process of Loma getting a crack at the title. Lomachenko is in a big hurry to unify the lightweight division, and then move back down in weight to the super featherweight division. So it’s quite possible that all four of the lightweight titles will be free once Lomachenko accomplishes his goal of unifying the division. Moreover, there would be no reason for Lomachenko to remain at lightweight, because the division is emptying out. Mikey Garcia has already moved up to 140, and Teofimo Lopez will be moving up to light welterweight as well in 2020. Lomachenko doesn’t want to move up to 140 due to his lack of size, so he’ll be going back down to 130 to look to fight the likes of Gervonta Davis, Tevin Farmer, Ryan Garcia and Miguel Berchelt.
”Now they’ve done this semi-final eliminator between Haney and Abdullaev, which was already an eliminator that was already ordered, and now [Javier] Fortuna against Teofimo Lopez, who is actually taking another fight anyway,” Hearn said. ”Where does Fortuna come from? It should just be Haney and Abdullaev for the [WBC] mandatory. So it’s a mess, to be honest with you. He’s [Teofimo Lopez] is pissed off, because he was told [by Top Rank] he was getting Richard Commey. Now they’re saying [Raymundo] Beltran is fighting Richard Commey, and he also won’t be fighting Lomachenko. Teofimo is saying, ‘I was told I was going to get Lomachenko or Commey,'” Hearn said.
The WBC not only ordered the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title, but they also are trying to setup a mini-tournament to decide who the mandatory will be for the new champion. WBC has ordered Devin Haney to fight Zaur Abdullaev in one fight, and Teofimo Lopez to battle Javier Fortuna in another. The winner of those two fights would then face each other to contest for the WBC mandatory spot. Hearn thinks the WBC should have just stuck with a fight between Haney and Abdullaev for the mandatory spot rather than having another fight take place. What this means is the eventual WBC mandatory will need to fight twice to earn the mandatory spot rather than just once. It’s a lot of extra work. If Lomachenko wins the WBC title, then he’ll have almost all the titles. It’ll be easier for guys like Lopez, Fortuna, Haney and Abdullaev to simply find another sanctioning body to get a title shot against Lomachenko rather than play the WBC’s games by fighting twice in two matches to the mandatory title shot. If Lomachenko wins the title, he’s likely going to fight Top Rank guys anyway until the sanctioning bodies eventually order him to fight his mandatory. By that time, Lomachenko might vacate and move back down to 130.
”I completely understand why the WBC has done this, because they want Lomachenko as their champion,” Hearn said. ”I just don’t think it’s fair for the others. One day if the WBC heavyweight championship comes available, I’m sure they’ll allow [Anthony] Joshua to fight the mandatory for the title, but would they allow Richard Commey to fight for the vacant WBC world lightweight title against Luke Campbell? Absolutely not! I just feel they should have gone down the ranking, really. What has Lomachenko done to deserve the WBC shot? He’s just won a couple of other titles, and he’s just strode right straight in. He won’t be ranked, because you’re not ranked when you’re a champion with another governing body If it’s in the UK, it’s got to be on pay-per-view,” Hearn said about the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight.
It does look a lot like the WBC wants Lomachenko as their champion. If the WBC always allowed other champions from other governing bodies to fight for their vacant titles, then it wouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s not what we’ve been seeing. The WBC always has contenders from their own top 15 fight for vacant titles. They don’t have champions that hold other belts vying for their vacant straps.
”It has to be. The fight is going to cost a couple of million quid, three million quid. You can’t do it if it’s not on pay-per-view,” Hearn said about the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight needing to be on Sky Box Office pay-per-view if it takes place in the UK like he wants it to be. ”It needs to be a really good card. We’re coming to win that fight. In the UK, especially we’re coming to win that fight. It’s a really tough fight. Lomachenko is pound-for-pound top three or one, but that’s a fight Luke Campbell is coming to win,” Hearn said.
With Lomachenko signed to Top Rank Boxing, and fighting exclusively on ESPN, they might want the fight to take place in the United States so that it would ensure more people watching the contender on ESPN. It’s unclear whether Top Rank will push to have the Lomachenko-Campbell fight shown on ESPN PPV. They did that with the Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan fight, and it’s rumored to have done only 150,000 buys. It would be a huge mistake of putting Lomachenko vs. Campbell on ESPN PPV.
”What’s the split? There can only be one split, it’s 50-50,” Hearn said about the purse split for the WBC ordered Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight. ”You can’t have a guy come in and have a championship split, as if he’s the WBC champion. It has to be 50-50. The problem I have now is DAZN will probably say to me, ‘We would like that fight to be in the U.S, so let’s bid for the fight, purse bids.’ Where I’m saying, ‘I’d quite like that fight to be in the UK.’ I’d love to bring Lomachenko to the UK. I think Luke has a better chance in the UK. Provided we can make a sensible deal, we’ll do that fight in the UK, but again, the split is going to be interesting for that. I would need a really good card, and we would need to decide if it’s at the O2 or Hull. I want it for August, the end of August,” Hearn said.