Luke Campbell MBE took less than 90 seconds to arrive in style in the pro game in his blockbuster hometown show at the MS3 Craven Park in Hull.
The Olympic Gold medal hero will box on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ WBO World lightweight title defence against Raymundo Beltran at the SECC in Glasgow live on Sky Sports on September 7 and will hope for more fireworks.
Campbell stepped into the ring at midnight on Saturday against Andy Harris in front of a packed crowed live on Sky Sports, and exploded into the paid ranks in style.
Campbell timed a peach of a short right hook to put Harris on the deck inside 40 seconds and he was down once again before a minute had passed in Campbell’s pro career.
Harris got to his feet to resume the action, but Campbell showed a real predatory instinct to back the Gloucester man into the corner and unloaded on him until the referee called a halt to the action.
“It’s a dream start, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Campbell. “I prepared for six tough rounds but I just relaxed and the shots flowed and I got him out of there. I was in control of myself, the nerves and the occasion – I soaked it up and loved it. I landed that lovely right hook and he just didn't recover.
“I could hear the crowd in the dressing room but I just kept calm. I had that in the Olympics so I knew what to expect. Those fans were here to support you so it's something that you use to your advantage. It was a different environment and I'll learn a bit at each fight and every step. It was an amazing show and a great crowd, to make my debut in an outside show in Hull is just fantastic.”
Campbell’s promoter Eddie Hearn was delighted with the start his latest star made to professional life, topping a great outdoor bill in Hull, and Hearn wants to keep his charge busy.
“Luke will box on the Ricky Burns undercard in September and I want him to box as often as possible,” said Hearn. “That means at least once a month, sometimes twice and then we’re looking at returning to Hull in November.
“I thought Luke was mad when he suggested an outdoor show for his debut but it was a fantastic occasion. I don’t think anyone has ever made their pro debut headlining an outdoor show but Luke took it all in his stride and he looked the real deal out there – it’s a very exciting start to what I think will be a long and successful journey.”
Campbell’s debut joy was the icing on the cake of a great evening of boxing in Hull. Unbeaten welterweight star Kell Brook dismissed Carson Jones after with a dominant eighth round stoppage win, while Derry Mathews was way behind Tommy Coyle on the cards in their clash for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title before the Liverpool man stunned the hometown crowd with a stunning left-hook in the tenth round to floor Coyle and claim the belt.
Welsh featherweight star Lee Selby showed he’s ready to step into World class company with a measured and mature win over WBC International champ Viorel Simion. Selby took the belt with all three judges ruling in his favour after 12 tough rounds – 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 – and will be a mover in the WBC division after beating the number four ranked Romanian.
Campbell’s fellow Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo made it two stoppage wins from three after ending the rugged resistance of Gary Boulden after five rounds of his third pro fight.
There are big fights ahead in the new season for Islington middleweight John Ryder and Rocky Fielding, and both men got rounds under their belts on Saturday. Ryder faces Billy Joe Saunders for the British middleweight title in September and stopped Frenchman Yoann Bloyer in the second round of a scheduled six, while Fielding, who has his sights set on fellow Scouser and holder of the British super middleweight title Paul Smith, won every round of four against Darren McKenna.
Curtis Woodhouse threw his hat into the vibrant domestic lightweight ring by getting rid of Joe Elfidh in three rounds, with Elfidh hitting the canvas in each session. Local boys Zak Collins and Joel Haigh enjoyed mixed fortunes on their big night, with Collins stopping Ross Payne in the fourth and final round of their bout while Haigh had to settle for a draw against the ever-tough Youssef Al Hamidi.