Luke Campbell should have been packing his bags to travel to the United States this week ahead of his world title challenge, but he fears that if the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control, his shot may never come.
Campbell was supposed to be boxing for the vacant WBC lightweight title against Javier Fortuna on April 17 at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. But, despite initial thoughts that the fight might go ahead behind closed doors, it was soon postponed, leaving Campbell training without the knowledge of when, or even if, it will go ahead.
When the bout was called off, Campbell was told by Eddie Hearn, the promoter, that it could go ahead at the end of May. But the longer the pandemic continues to develop, the less that seems likely.
“I’ve been given a rough idea, I’m told end of May in America,” Campbell, 32, said. “Things might be more normal there end of May time than they are here.
“You don’t know what is going to happen. This could take months, it could take years. What happens if it takes four years? My career is over then. But I can’t do nowt about it.”
He was deep into training camp in Canterbury with trainer Shane McGuigan when the bout was postponed.
“I had four weeks left of training, so I was in the thick of it,” he said. “I had been training since the second week of January.
“I’d been sparring, had spent a fair bit of money on my training camp, I’m not going to get that back. Maybe I will be putting a letter in to the government.”
As he trained, though, it had been difficult to ignore the growing pandemic. The fight was still on when President Trump implemented a 30-day travel ban from the UK.
“If they stuck to that 30 days, that would have meant I was flying into America on April 15. Just two days before the fight,” he said. “So I thought I will never be flying on the 15th and fighting on the 17th. I just thought the fight will definitely have to be put back. I spoke to Eddie a couple of days later and he said it would be put back.
“I sort of knew it wasn’t going to happen. I am in the same boat as everyone else. What can you do? You can’t get angry and mad about it, we’re in a world crisis.”
With schools closed, Campbell has been training home, while attempting to help his children with their school work.
“I’m lucky enough to have a gym at home, so I am training, ticking over at home and in between training sessions we are home-schooling the boys,” he said.
“I’ve got a treadmill, I run on there. If I was to go out it is to walk the dog and if someone is on the same side of the road as me, I cross over and avoid them. I can run, I can do weights, I can do circuits, I can hit the bag, I can shadowbox, so I can tick over apart from sparring and padwork.”
Figuring out schoolwork for seven and nine year-olds is tougher, though.
“I can’t understand half their work – good job I’ve got a smart wife,” he said. “It melts my brain. I wasn’t the best at school. My kids are smarter than I was.
“It’s frustrating obviously, because I want to get my hands on that world title. But I am made to wait longer again.”