Lomachenko adds 3rd lightweight belt

LONDON (AP) — Vasyl Lomachenko’s big goal in boxing is to become unified champion in one weight category.

He’s one win away from achieving that dream.

Considered among the world’s greatest pound-for-pound fighters, Lomachenko added the vacant WBC belt to his WBA and WBO titles at lightweight with a unanimous points win over Britain’s Luke Campbell on Saturday.

Two judges awarded the fight 119-108 to Lomachenko, with the other giving it to the Ukrainian 118-109 at the O2 Arena in London — the city where, seven years ago to the day, he won one of his two Olympic gold medals.

Campbell, also an Olympic champ in 2012, gave Lomachenko problems with his longer reach but struggled to make it to the final bell after being knocked down in the 11th and desperately wrestling his opponent to the canvas in the 12th while in survival mode.

A stunning amateur fighter, Lomachenko is breaking records as a pro, having become the quickest boxer to win world titles at three weights, in just 12 fights.

Only Ghana’s Richard Commey, who holds the IBF title, stands between Lomachenko and a sweep of the 135-pound belts. Commey is set to fight mandatory challenger Teofimo Lopez Jnr. in December, and perhaps Lomachenko after that.

“Next, IBF. This is my title,” Lomachenko said.

The technique, athleticism and foot speed that stands Lomachenko apart from the rest only shone through against Campbell after he made his first breakthrough in the fight — a short left to the face that plunged Campbell back to the ropes in the fifth round.

While Lomachenko connected with more power punches — 136 to 87 in the end — the rounds stayed close, with Campbell, a southpaw, connecting a few times with his looping left hook.

The 11th was where Lomachenko showed his class, following up a flurry of body shots with a straight right to the face that sent Campbell backward and down for an eight count. Lomachenko landed 31 power punches in that round alone, and Campbell was saved by the bell.

A visibly tiring Campbell struck a low blow in the 12th before virtually rugby-tackling Lomachenko to the floor late in, much to the bemusement of the Ukrainian.

The result wasn’t in doubt as they waited for the judges’ scoring.

“He’s a special fighter, we all knew he was a special fighter,” said Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), who also lost to Jorge Linares in a split decision in 2017. “It’s hard to come up with a game plan when someone like that is so good in front of you.”

The 31-year-old Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) said he wanted to fight again in Britain. By that time, he might have become undisputed lightweight champion and be fighting at another weight.

“We are looking to win the fourth belt to unify the title,” his promoter, Bob Arum, said in the ring.

In the undercard, Britain’s Charlie Edwards retained his WBC world flyweight title after video evidence overturned his stoppage loss to Mexican opponent Julio Cesar Martinez.

After Edwards took a knee in the third round following a flurry of shots, Martinez landed a punch to Edwards’ ribs that was missed by referee Mark Lyson.

Martinez was declared the winner to jeers from the home fans but WBC supervisor Mauricio Sulaiman — watching at ringside — declared the fight a no contest and said there would be a rematch.

In the heavyweight division, Alexander Povetkin won a unanimous points decision over Hughie Fury — the cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury — to claim the vacant WBA International title.