By Elliot Foster
Luke Campbell put himself in line for a potential shot at a world title with a points victory.
The Hull lightweight survived a shaky beginning to clinch the vacant WBC Silver crown at the First Direct Arena, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Campbell, who is also the Commonwealth champion, advanced to 14-1 (11 KOs) against former IBF super-featherweight world champion Argenis Mendez (23-5-1, 12 KOs) in Leeds.
But the 28-year-old Olympic gold medallist had to negotiate an early knockdown, his second in three fights, before going on to control –– and close –– the show against the 30-year-old.
It was a left hand that put Campbell on the seat of his pants in the second, but Mendez did little else for about six rounds after the knockdown and that allowed ‘Cool Hand’ to get into a groove and amass a points total healthy enough to see out the final few stanzas before the bell rang.
All three judges scored the contest in favour of Campbell, by margins of 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112.
Discipline was the order of the day for Campbell after the knockdown and he did very well to see it out but he has his eyes on the big world title showdowns and it’ll be down to promoter Eddie Hearn, who was perched at ringside during the fight, to deliver one for the Hull man, who said that the knockdown “wasn’t a problem.”
“I’ve got a good chin, trust me,” Campbell told Sky Sports after the fight.
“That was a great learning fight for me and I was in with a seasoned pro who was very smart.
“The knockdown wasn’t a problem,” he continued, “I leaned back and didn't move my feet. It's not a problem –– I was totally fine. It just pushed me off my balance.
“[In terms of a world title fight, promoter] Eddie Hearn lays the path, just as he did with this fight, and [trainer] Jorge [Rubio] and I will work at it.”