WBC orders Luke Campbell vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko for 135 lb title
By Trevor McIntyre: In a surprising ruling, the WBC has accepted the petition by Top Rank to have their fighter WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko leap in front of the other contenders in the WBC’s top 15 rankings to face Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title that was recently vacated by champion Mikey Garcia.
This is not what Campbell’s promoters at Matchroom Boxing were hoping would happen. They wanted Campbell to face one of the top contenders in the WBC’s rankings for the vacant WBC 135-pound title. Normally, that’s what would happen when a title becomes vacant. The sanctioning body orders the two top ranked available contenders to fight for the vacant title. In this case, the World Boxing Council voted to allow an existing two belt champion, Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs), to go in front of the contenders in the WBC’s rankings to face #1 WBC Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) for the vacant title.
Lomachenko’s promoters at Top Rank must be happy right now, because their fighter Loma has an excellent chance of defeating Campbell to capture the vacant WBC lightweight title and add another strap to his collection. The 31-year-old Lomachenko’s goal is to win all four world titles at lightweight to unify the division. If not for the WBC allowing Lomachenko to get in front of the other contenders at lightweight in order to battle Campbell for the vacant WBC belt, it would have been tougher for him to do.
For Campbell, he likely would have made more money in a unification fight against Lomachenko than he will in fighting him for the vacant WBC belt. There’s a big difference between negotiating with Lomachenko as a champion than there is in fighting him for the vacant WBC belt. Any way you want to look at it, Campbell is getting a raw deal in having to fight Lomachenko for the vacant WBC title rather than #2 WBC Zaur Abdullaev or #3 WBC Devin Haney. Those are fighters that Campbell would have had a decent chance of beating. It’s not realistic to assume that Campbell will defeat Lomachenko, who is the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, and looking unbeatable by anyone at lightweight.
Here’s what the WBC said in their news release about their decision to allow Lomachenko to fight Campbell for Mikey Garcia’s recently vacated 135-pound title:
“The WBC has accepted Vasiliy Lomachenko petition to fight for the WBC lightweight title. A fight between mandatory challenger, Luke Campbell, from UK and multiple weight division champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko, from Ukraine, with the vacant WBC lightweight championship on the line, is officially ordered. Mikey Garcia, as WBC Emeritus champion, reserves his right to fight for the lightweight title. A tournament will be ordered to determine the mandatory challenger of the division with the following fights.”
The WBC’s tournament to decide the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight will come down to these fights:
– Zaur Abdullaev vs. Devin Haney
– Teofimo Lopez vs. Javier Fortuna
Haney and Abdullaev might agree to fight each other, but it’s HIGHLY unlikely that Teofimo Lopez will agree to fight Fortuna to take part in the WBC’s tournament. Teofimo is going in another direction towards earning the IBF mandatory position by fighting Masayoshi Nakatani in July. The winner of that fight will be the mandatory to IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey. Teofimo wants to fight Commey by Decision, beat him, and then take on Lomachenko for all four lightweight titles in early 2020, just after the Super Bowl.
WBC said this:
“Zaur Abdullaev must fight Devin Haney, from USA and Teofimo Lopez, from Honduras, must face Javier Fortuna, from Dominican Republic. The winners of these matches will fight each other to determine the mandatory contender of the division.”
It sounds like a really long process that some of these fighters will need to go through to become the WBC’s mandatory. It’s hardly worth it when you think about it. Lomachenko has his hands on the WBC title, there will be easier routes to get a title shot against him by going in the direction of the IBF, WBA or WBO. Lomachenko is looking too good right now. For any contender in the WBC’s top 15, they would be better off either moving down in weight to the super featherweight division or up in weight to light welterweight to increase their chances of winning a world title. `
This is really bad news for the southpaw Campbell that he has to fight Lomachenko for the vacant WBC title. If Campbell could have one of the top contenders in the WBC’s rankings, the chances are high that he would win. Campbell would then be in a better position to get a good purse split in a unification fight with Lomachenko. The way things are no, Campbell is getting a rotten deal in fighting Lomachenko for the vacant WBC strap. Top Rank did a good job of petitioning the WBC to let their guy Lomachenko fight Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight belt.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell has been toiling away as a pro for six years without winning a world title. This would have been his best chance of winning a world title strap if he could have fought for the vacant WBC belt against Haney or Abdullaev. It’s too bad for Campbell that he’s facing arguably the best fighter in the lightweight division in Lomachenko. It’s a win-win for Lomachenko and Top Rank though. Lomachenko is getting a real gift by the WBC in being able to fight for the vacant lightweight title.
Lomachenko is coming off of a fourth round knockout victory over Matchroom Boxing fighter Anthony Crolla on April 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Lomachenko vs. Campbell figures to be just as one-sided a fight at that one was. Campbell is a better fighter than Crolla, but not by much. Lomachenko is going to likely treat Campbell as little more than a speed bump in this fight. The WBC is doing Top Rank and Lomachenko a huge favor in letting Loma fight Campbell directly for the vacant lightweight title instead of waiting until Luke wins the belt. You can argue that the money that Campbell would have made in a fight with Lomachenko as the WBC champion would have been a lot more.