Luke Campbell MBE is back in action on Saturday night live on Sky Sports, and the Olympic Gold medal hero says he knows he is a marked man as he steps up to eight-round action.
Campbell raced to 4-0 with three stoppage wins after turning pro in July, and he faces Scott Moises in his first eight-round contest in the paid ranks at the Hull Ice Arena. The Hull star says his focus has to be razor sharp as his opponents aim to derail his faultless start to life in the pro game.
“Everybody has it in for you and everybody wants to beat you that little bit more because you are an Olympic champion,” said Campbell. “I have to be that little bit more prepared and that little bit more professional in what I do because knowing that fact that everyone would love to beat me. I have to be well prepared.
“I am not in this game to mess around and I want the titles just as much as any other boxer “But I want to assess each performance after every fight and go from there. I am an Olympic champion and I do believe in my own ability. Time will tell.”
This time last year, the 26 year old was closing in on a place in the final of Dancing On Ice, becoming a household name in the process. Twelve months on, Campbell has left the sequins behind him for the blood, sweat and tears of training and he says he is still short of hitting the heights he reached at the London 2012 Games.
“I still don’t feel as though I am as good as I was during the Olympics,” said Campbell. “There are differences of course – more rounds, no headguards, adapting to the pros – so there is a lot to take into consideration.
“There is pressure as well. There are not many professional boxers who have had four fights and been top of the bill in two of those fights. Through having the experience of the Olympics – that was pressure, serious pressure – now I look at this as sit back and enjoy it.”
Part of that learning curve for Campbell came in his last contest on the undercard of Carl Froch’s epic World title clash with George Groves at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester in November. Campbell faced Chuck Jones in a four-round clash that he admits he was unprepared for on the night.
“I didn’t get to the stadium in time,” said Campbell. “There were a lot of knockouts, and that rushed the show on quite a lot and I wasn’t ready. I felt rushed in what I was doing but that was my own fault. I found out in the third round that it was a four rounder and not a six. I was expecting to do the six and grind him down and go for the stoppage in the last two rounds. But it was good to do the rounds – you are not going to stop everyone and it is as much about learning as it is winning and that is what I try and do with each performance.
“I haven’t changed anything to prepare for the eight rounder, I have just increased my work load. I am feeling great. It is the best I have ever felt during camp. I have tweaked a few things and I will be ready for the eight rounds. It is going to be another step up doing eight rounds, but I am looking forward to it.”
Campbell’s clash with Moises tops an exciting bill in Hull, with Darren Hamilton aiming to secure the Lonsdale belt for keeps when he defends his British Light Welterweight title against Curtis Woodhouse.
Hull star Tommy Coyle defends his IBF International Lightweight title against Daniel Brizuela, while Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell faces Leigh Wood for the vacant British Super Bantamweight title.
A trio of local prospects are in action in the form of Zak Collins, Joel Haigh and Charlie Payton, and there are four-rounders for Manchester’s Hosea Burton and New Malden’s Lerrone Richards and Liverpool Super Middleweight Tony Dodson, who is aiming to secure a Commonwealth title shot against Rocky Fielding on March 15.
Limited tickets remain on sale priced £30, £40, £60 and £120 for VIPs and are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com