Exciting prospect Ryan Garcia takes a considerable step up in opponent when he returns to the ring on Jan. 2 in the form of Luke Campbell, a British veteran who like Garcia hopes to become a world champion in the lightweight division.
Will this be a formality for "The Flash", whom many believe is destined for great things? Or will "Cool Hand" find a weakness to exploit at this level?
To help understand exactly what kind of battle Garcia can expect on Saturday, here's some detailed information about Campbell, his career so far and the men who have been able to do what the American plans to do and defeat the London 2012 hero.
Luke Campbell background, early career
Campbell was born on Sept. 27, 1987 in Hull, a city in the Yorkshire region of England. He boxed for St. Paul's Amateur Boxing Club in Hull, winning the English senior ABA bantamweight title in 2007 and retaining that honour in 2008.
At the 2008 European Amateur Championships, held a few miles West in Liverpool, Campbell became the first Englishman to win a European amateur title since 1961 when he earned gold at bantamweight. He also secured a silver at the 2011 World Championships held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The London 2012 Olympic Games
Of course, Campbell's biggest amateur achievement came when the Olympic Games arrived in Britain in 2012. At London's ExCeL Arena, Campbell defeated Italy's Vittorio Parrinello, Detelin Dalakliev of Bulgaria, Japanese fighter Satoshi Shimizu and finally John-Joe Nevin of the Republic of Ireland to add to the host nation's impressive total record haul both in boxing and across the entire Olympic competition that year.
The quarter-final win over Dalakliev was extremely close and some felt the Bulgarian had done enough for the upset, but Campbell saved his best until last as he knocked Nevin (now a 14-0 pro) down on his way to becoming the first bantamweight boxer to win Olympic gold for Team GB since Henry Thomas in 1908. Campbell was also awarded an MBE for the achievement.
Five Luke Campbell facts
- Campbell is an avid supporter of his home town's local soccer team Hull City, who have spent several seasons in the Premier League but are currently down in the third tier of English football following relegation in 2020.
- He has had boxing in his family tree for generations, with his grandfather having been an Irish boxing champion. Many of Campbell's relatives still live in Ireland.
- Following his Olympic success, Campbell took part in Dancing On Ice (a show produced in the U.S. for just one season as Skating With Celebrities). He reached the final but ultimately finished third, behind Season 8 champion and fellow Olympian Beth Tweddle.
- Just two weeks before his world title fight against Jorge Linares, Campbell's father passed away. He kept the news from the public, however, in case the Linares camp saw it as a "weakness". Campbell later said: "I probably cried once a day. I had to try and shut my feelings off. After the fight I had a good cry. The only thing that kept me going is I know what my dad would have wanted for me."
- On a Sky Sports documentary prior to his challenge of Vasiliy Lomachenko, Campbell was hailed by a panel of fellow boxers including David Haye, Carl Froch, Johnny Nelson, Tony Bellew and Paulie Malignaggi as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers today that hadn't yet become a world champion.
Luke Campbell record and bio
- Nationality : English
- Born : 27 September 1987
- Height : 5'9"
- Reach : 71"
- Total fights: 23
- Record : 20-3, 16 KOs
Luke Campbell's five biggest fights so far
vs Derry Mathews, Oct. 15, 2016
Campbell issued a statement of intent when blasting domestic rival Mathews, who had unsuccessfully challenged Terry Flanagan for the WBO lightweight title in his previous fight, with a fourth-round knockout at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
vs Darleys Perez, Apr. 29, 2017
On the undercard of Anthony Joshua's huge showdown with Wladimir Klitschko, Campbell put himself next in line for a world title shot when he halted Colombia's Perez in the ninth of their scheduled 12-rounder.
vs Jorge Linares, Sept. 23, 2017
That world title opportunity came in the form of WBA and The Ring lightweight king Linares in Inglewood, California. Campbell fought through the grief of losing his father to give a strong account of himself against one of the pound-for-pound best at the time, but an early knockdown helped ensure a split decision in the champ's favour.
vs Yvan Mendy, Sept. 22, 2018
Campbell's path to greatness as a professional was momentarily derailed by a surprising decision defeat to the Frenchman via split decision in 2015. Campbell set out to avenge that loss, and did so in style for the nod on all three judges' scorecards as he fought beneath a Joshua main event at Wembley Stadium for a second time.
vs Vasiliy Lomachenko, Aug. 31, 2019
Campbell had his work cut out for him in his second world title challenge against the man considered by many to be the very best on offer today, until he was conquered earlier this year by Teofimo Lopez Jr. The contest for the WBA, WBO, The Ring, and vacant WBC lightweight titles was a unanimous decision win for the Ukrainian, who also scored a knockdown along the way.
How to watch Garcia vs. Campbell on DAZN
Everything you need to know about the fight, start time, how to subcribe to DAZN to watch and more can be found here .