Luke Campbell became the new lightweight Commonwealth champion with a decisive stoppage win that got him back on track after the first loss of his career last December. ________________________________________________________________________________ A cagey opening round saw southpaw Campbell stay safely out of range of any attacks from Sykes, in a relatively quite opening three minutes. Campbell's sharpness proved to be explosive however…
Luke Campbell Wins WBC Silver Lightweight Title in Leeds
Olympic Gold medallist Luke Campbell wins in a hard fought, determined, scrappy bout with Argenis Mendez of the Dominican Republic.
Luke Campbell improved his record to 14-1 (11KO) but was made to work for the victory tonight, in what could very well prove to be a vital learning fight for the Englishman at the current stage of his career.
The first round got off to a cautious start by both men, with Campbell’s hand speed proving to be the difference towards the end of the round as he landed some decent straight left hands from his southpaw stance.
However, the second round brought about a dramatic straight right hand from Mendez that came out of nowhere, putting Campbell onto the seat of his pants in front of a stunned arena.
Campbell survived the heavy knockdown to make it into the third round against what was clearly a slick operator in Mendez.
Former world champion Mendez looked to be patient at times in the third, waiting for the counter against Campbell – who looked a little tentative in his work.
The fourth round was a close one to call, with perhaps the edge in work rate giving the round to Campbell for me, although Mendez’s timing looked very sharp – not wasting any punches for the most part.
As the mid rounds came about Campbell looked to have woken up slightly, upping his work rate and backing Mendez up onto the ropes in spots.
Campbell began to put more combinations together in the 7th round, looking a bit more relaxed and assured in his work by this point of the contest.
The British fighter’s condition looked to be top notch as the fight went into the later rounds. Clearly the move to the States and link up with new trainer Jorge Rubio had a positive impact on his stamina and conditioning.
Mendez looked to progressively adopt more of a negative mentality as the later rounds went by, seemingly been content to survive until the final bell and take Campbell the distance.
Campbell’s distance control and superior jab did enough for him to close out the final rounds rather comfortably without exerting too much effort.
The final scorecards read out all in favour of Campbell by unanimous decision as:
116-111, 117-110 and 115-112.
After bouncing back from his first career defeat earlier this year, this second win on the bounce since his first loss now has Campbell (28) riding some positive momentum again with a once again bright future to look forward to in the lightweight division.
After getting up off the floor early on and regrouping to get the win over the twelve championship rounds, there’s no denying Campbell’s heart and fighting spirit after tonight.
Then again, they don’t hand out Olympic Gold medals for nothing.