Jorge Linares is set to face Luke Campbell on September 23
Published: July 28, 2017
The month of September keeps getting better for boxing fans as another high profile bout has been put on the calendar to an already fantastic month of boxing. On September 23 WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) will make his return to the United States to take on his number one contender the United Kingdom’s and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Luke Campbell (17-1, 14 KOs). The bout will be held at the world famous ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, California.
It will be the first fight for Linares in the U.S. in three years. He last fought in the U.S. when he faced Ira Terry (26-15, 16 KOs) at the StubHub Center in 2014. Linares has remained undefeated for the previous five years, and his recent performances against Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) have seen him realize his full potential. Linares throughout his career has proved to be the definition of a world champion having fought in eight different countries. Now that he is considered one of the best lightweights on the planet, the Japanese-based Venezuelan is looking to for bigger match ups. Linares spoke with Sky Sports about Campbell and what he is looking forward to in the future.
Going into the fight, Campbell is much less experienced but has some quality victories over the likes of Darleys Perez (33-3-2, 21 KOs), Argenis Mendez (24-5-1,12 KOs), and Derry Mathews (38-12-2, 20 KOs). Campbell will come in as a huge underdog, but if Linares’ past is any indication with early knockout losses to Juan Carlos Salgado (26-7-1, 16 KOs) and Sergio Thompson (30-5, 26 KOs), the U.K. fighter will be looking for an early knockout. Since those losses, Linares has improved tremendously and should be ready if Campbell decides to jump on him early.
While the fight with Campbell is not the best fight that could have been made in the division hopefully fights with the other titleholders can be done afterward. WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) will face Adrien Broner at 140-pounds this weekend, and it is unclear if he will return to the lightweight division. IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) just fought at the end of June against Denis Shafikov (38-3-1, 20 KOs) winning a unanimous decision. Easter could be available for a fight at the end of the year or early next year, but the promotional division may stop the fight from ever happening. WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) was set to face Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) in September but incurred an injury to his leg. A fight between Flanagan and Verdejo is likely to be rescheduled for later this year.
The best option for Linares should he come out victorious against Campbell may be with WBO 130-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs). Lomachenko has spoken in the past about moving up to the lightweight division. Linares-Campbell will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark and Sky Sports and will be for the WBA, WBC Diamond, and Ring Magazine lightweight titles.
(Feature Photo: Naoki Fukuda)