By Andrew Cho
Luke Stays Cool Under Pressure, Lomachenko Still too Hi-Tech
Vasiliy Lomachenko entered the O2 Arena with a surprising amount of support in his opponent’s backyard. The UK is a notoriously hostile environment for anyone facing their own countrymen. It wasn’t that British supporters weren’t there to support their own Luke Campbell, but it showed that they were also there for the Lomachenko show of dazzling footwork and ability to punch his opponents into submission.
Loma was undoubtedly the smaller man and needed to overcome Luke Campbell’s six inch reach advantage. Not only did Lomachenko’s footwork and head movement take away Campbell’s reach, it also seemed to tire out Campbell with the constant movement and repositioning of himself to keep Lomachenko in front of him.
Campbell did have his moments in the fight. Many observers gave the brave British lightweight two or three rounds. He even had a few good exchanges. Eventually, however, he succumbed to a body shot in the eleventh round and was dropped to the canvas. The official scorecards were wide in favor of Lomachenko as he was handed the vacant WBC lightweight belt via unanimous decision.
Luke Campbell gets a big feather in his cap for never quitting (something we have grown accustomed to Lomachenko’s opponents doing). He also gets the nod for Lomachenko’s toughest test to date, minus a veteran Orlando Salido taking on Lomachenko in his second fight.
Campbell is a good fighter that may have won a world title if he wasn’t in the same era as Lomachenko. He has a gold medal to his name, but unfortunately this was the second world title shot he fell short in. He’s not as young as he looks, at 31 years of age, so it seems he will continue to be a very strong competitor. Nothing more unless a stray world title happens to come out of nowhere.
As for Lomachenko, it seems as though the winner of Commey-Lopez’s IBF title bout is the logical next step. If Commey wins with little damage, it becomes very likely. If Lopez wins, the Lopez camp may want to reconsider throwing him into a bout with Lomachenko so soon in his career.
Some have thrown around Gervonta Davis as an option, but unfortunately the promotional ties of both Lomachenko and Tank would likely shut any realistic thoughts down. Mikey Garcia was an option as well, but he seems to have found a new goal in capturing a welterweight world title.
Fortunately or unfortunately, we will have to settle for Lomachenko’s pursuit of the last meaningful belt and hope he unifies the division against the winner of Commey and Lopez.
Buatsi Rolls On, Puts “more rounds” in the Bank
Joshua Buatsi entered the ring with many of his fans criticizing his promoter, Eddie Hearn, and the level of opposition he’s faced.
When would Joshua Buatsi be ready to handle business against actual stiff competition? People are starting to compare Buatsi’s journey to that of an Anthony Yarde (who recently lost in his title shot last weekend). Eddie Hearn defended his choice of Buatsi’s opponent, Ryan Ford, as the perfect tough rugged opponent that will give Buatsi the rounds he will need to mature.
That he did… in theory.
This was Joshua’s first bout scheduled for twelve rounds and the first time he fought past the fifth. Ford didn’t have much to offer the former Olympian prospect in terms of boxing class, but did have the durability to help Buatsi discover more of himself as a professional.
Throughout the fight, Buatsi used his jab as a way to feel out his opponent and then as a setup to his eventual puncher’s style of boxing. Ford would counter some of the power punches Buatsi had to offer, but never had a moment where he seemed to control the fight.
The end started in the seventh round with a strong left hook clipping Ford’s chin and then multiple chopping right hands that took Ford’s legs away from him. Buatsi then threw a right hook to the body and then a left that was below the belt line. A follow up shot with a right hand over the top and Buatsi became the first man to stop Ryan “Real Deal” Ford.
Ford’s appeal into the contest was his history of exposing prospects and durability to test Buatsi’s punching power. Ryan Ford now walks away from the bout with a record of 16 wins and 5 losses.
Joshua Buatsi, on the other hand, solidified his punching power by stopping a durable opponent and gets seven solid rounds in the books. We saw that Anthony Yarde failed in his first legitimate test after feasting on seemingly soft competition. The hope is that Joshua Buatsi has a different outcome in his first eventual world title shot.
Until then, we can only call the former Olympian a very good prospect until he takes a step into contender-level competition. Hopefully Eddie Hearn declares that Buatsi has enough rounds in the book to warrant a step up in the right direction. Joshua Buatsi now holds a record of twelve wins and zero losses.