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Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell likely heading to June 21 purse bid

Vasyl Lomachenko

By Chris Williams: Eddie Hearn says there’s no deal yet with Top Rank for a fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell. The deadline for the deal to be stuck is this Friday. If no agreement is made by then, a purse bid will be ordered for June 21.

Hearn believes the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight will wind up in the United States if it goes to a purse bid, according to Mike Coppinger.

If Matchroom wins purse bid, it’s possible Top Rank will pull Lomachenko from fight

It’s believed by many boxing fans that Top Rank won’t give the green light to Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) to fight #1 WBC Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Council 135-pound title if they lose the purse bid to Matchroom, because that would mean that the fight would be shown on DAZN rather than just ESPN.

Lomachenko, 31, would be forced to fight on DAZN if Matchroom wins the purse bid, and Top Rank and ESPN wouldn’t likely be too pleased with that scenario. It’s clear that Lomachenko wants to unify the lightweight division, but he would need to wait a little longer to realize that dream or forget about it altogether.

Lomachenko is coming off of a fourth round knockout win over Anthony Crolla on April 12 in Los Angeles, California. It was a brilliant performance by the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko against a fighter that arguably didn’t deserve the title shot in the first place in 32-year-old Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs). The British fighter had earned the shot by beating Daud Yordan by a 12 round unanimous decision in his previous fight last November. For his part, Campbell, 31, is coming off of a fifth round knockout win over journeyman Adrian Yung (26-6-2, 20 KOs) last March

Vasily Lomachenko talented but not well known with casual boxing fans in U.S

ESPN needs Lomachenko to become better known in the States so that he can pull in fans for their ESPN+ app. It would be defeating the purpose if ESPN allows Lomachenko’s fight with Campbell to be shown on DAZN.

Despite being the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, Lomachenko isn’t a household name in the States, and he likely won’t be if wastes time trying to collect all the lightweight belts against obscure fighters that the casual fans have never heard of and don’t care about.

The way for Lomachenko to increase his popularity is to fight the best possible fighters at 130 to 140. The decision by Lomachenko to go after the vacant WBC belt is a waste of time. Lomachenko should be fighting Teofimo Lopez, and then moving up to 140 to take on the top dogs in that division like Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Maurice Hooker, Jose Ramirez and Ivan Baranchyk. It would obviously be risky for Lomachenko to move up in weight, because he has things his own way in taking on guys at lightweight and super featherweight. Against the bigger guys, Lomachenko would need to use more of his boxing skills to win. So instead of Lomachenko show boating like he normally does against hopefully over-matched opposition, he would have to do a lot more to win his fights.

Lomachenko unwilling to step outside of his comfort zone

What Lomachenko is lacking is being involved in fights where he’s not a huge favorite every time. The way for Loma to do that is to step out of his comfort zone by moving up to light welterweight to take on the above mentioned fighters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Lomachenko will ever do that. For that reason, he’s probably going to be stuck in anonymity fighting in a division that’s not popular with casual boxing fans. The lightweight division isn’t followed by casuals. The hardcore boxing fan follow what happens at lightweight, but not the casual fans.

It would help if Lomachenko learned English so that he could speak with the media without the need of an interpreter. To become a star in the U.S, Loma needs to be able to be understood without a translator. Top Rank is putting a lot of money into turning British heavyweight Tyson Fury into a star in the U.S. Fury isn’t as talented as Lomachenko, and he’s not someone that is going to be able to rule the heavyweight division. Fury is outgoing, he can speak English obviously, and he’s more of an entertainer. But like Lomachenko, Fury hasn’t been consistently fighting the guys that would turn him into a star.

Top Rank did an excellent job of turning Manny Pacquiao into a star in the United States despite his limited English speaking ability, but they matched him against the best fighters for the most part. Pacquiao didn’t waste years of his boxing career taking on opposition that the U.S fans weren’t interested in seeing. Pacquiao stuck his neck out by moving up to welterweight, and taking on Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.

Instead of doing that, Lomachenko is staying in his comfort zone in looking to go after a meaningless WBC lightweight title against Campbell, who the casual boxing fans in the States have never heard of. The casuals that remember Campbell in the U.S know of him having lost to Jorge Linares in 2017. Instead of taking his loss, Campbell complained bitterly that he should have won, but he clearly lost the fight.

Lomachenko needs to follow Mikey Garcia’s lead

Top Rank could push Lomachenko like they did with Pacquiao, but it’s pointless if he’s not going to fight the guys that have a shot at beating him like Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Maurice Hooker, Teofimo Lopez and Jose Ramirez. Lomachenko would make a name for himself if he were to face those fighters, but instead he’s staying in his comfort zone in going after paper titles against fighters that American fans have never heard of in Campbell. Mikey Garcia was willing to move up to 140 and 147 to take risks with his career against bigger fighters, and it’s paid off for him. Lomachenko is the same size as Mikey, but he’s not showing the same willingness to take risks with his career. Why is that?

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