Nobody is taking for granted the task Luke Campbell faces at the O2 Arena when WBO, WBC and WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko stands across the ring from him.
Even as a vastly accomplished Olympic gold medallist and former world title challenger, Campbell is pitting his wits against a man who is considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world today.
The Hull-born star is fully aware of the task at hand on Saturday night, but former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew offered some words of advice for the lightweight on Alan Brazil’s Sports Breakfast on Thursday.
Bellew’s career ended at the hands of a Ukrainian on British soil when Oleksandr Usyk retained his unified cruiserweight titles against him and he believes Campbell – anyone in fact – must knock Lomachenko out to beat him.
“He’s got the hardest puzzle in boxing to solve,” Bellew told talkSPORT. “The only way of beating Vasyl Lomachenko, in my opinion, is to chin him. To catch him with one big shot and put him out, but I just don’t see anyone who can do it, I’ve got to be honest with you.
“He’s the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound in my opinion. He’s the most equally balanced fighter in offence and defence since a prime Roy Jones Jr, and Roy Jones Jr is the greatest fighter that ever lived in my opinion. He is the closet thing I’ve seen to him. His footwork, his angles that he can come at you, his defence – it’s crazy because he’s not someone who puts his hands up to his head and just goes to work, it’s the angles he comes at you on offence and he’s doing this to world champions. He makes seasoned world champions look like novices. He makes formidable world champions look absolutely stupid.”
Lomachenko claims he can spend up to four minutes and 30 seconds underwater training – far, far above the average time a man could stay underwater.
Bellew thinks that just sums up the phenomenon.
“I’ve heard of underwater training to help improve your lung capacity, but four and a half minutes? Jesus Christ. I honestly don’t know what he is, he’s obviously not human. He’s an alien.”