Luke Campbell believes his guts and determination to win are underrated as he takes on former champion Argenis Mendez at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday night.
Campbell’s confidence is back after a destructive second round stoppage win over Gary Sykes in March to land the Commonwealth title in Sheffield.
The Hull star swarmed over his Yorkshire rival from the opening bell and dismissed his challenge in clinical fashion, putting the demons of his first pro defeat to Yvan Mendy in December behind him in the process.
“I see the Mendy defeat as a blessing in disguise,” said Campbell. “Everything happens for a reason and that night wasn’t meant for me. The build-up and preparation for that fight was wrong but it is one of those things. You only realise who you are and what you are made of in the bad times.
“You don’t achieve what I’ve achieved and won what I’ve won without mental toughness and heart. It was a defeat I shouldn’t have faced because I shouldn’t have been in there that night but everything happens for a reason.
“A hell of a lot of people will underestimate me because I look like a little boy but I’ve got a big heart. Not only that, but I’m really dedicated to this sport. I’m in it for one reason; to be the best.
“There’s no way I’m going to go in there and back down for anybody. I don’t train for that. I would live in regret for the rest of my life if I ever thought I’d backed down or given up against anybody. It’s not in my nature. I believe I’ve got a bigger heart than anyone.”
Campbell’s clash with Mendez is part of a huge night of action in Leeds as hometown favourite Josh Warrington defends his WBC International Featherweight title against Patrick Hyland.
Unbeaten Super-Bantamweight talent defends Commonwealth strap against Wale
Gamal Yafai says he’ll prove he’s got the skills to match his big punch when he defends his Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title against Josh Wale at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
Yafai makes the first defence of the strap he landed with a seventh round stoppage win over Bobby Jenkinson with a typically powerful display on his home patch in Birmingham in March.
‘The Beast’ has shown off his blistering power in his nine pro fights to date but the 24 year old wants to show that he can box his way to victory against the experienced Barnsley man.
“When I first started as a professional, all I wanted to do was take people’s heads off,” said Yafai. “It is not just about knockouts, you have to use your skills as well. I was a top world class amateur without using my skills. I still have lots to learn and much more to give, especially against Jenkinson last time out.
“I use my skills, all of my attributes I’ve got – my power is there for everyone to see, but I’m not looking for it so much anymore. If the opportunity comes to stop them, it comes – I’m ready to do the 12 rounds now.
“I feel that I’m right on track and it seemed fitting that I won the Commonwealth title in only my 9th pro fight – which is much earlier than many people fight for one. I felt ready for it once I got offered it – If I use my skills I’m ready for the top kids.
“Sometimes I look for power and I can look all ragged. The top kids will be able to expose that, so I’ve just got to keep it going. I feel that I’m two or three fights away from those guys at British level – hopefully we can beat Josh and go on to big things.”
Gavin and Eggington ready to set up October showdown
Frankie Gavin and Sam Eggington return to action at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, and the pair ready to set up their long-awaited showdown in the autumn.
The pair were set to meet in Birmingham in October but injury ruled Gavin out of the clash – a date for the clash is now proposed for this October in Birmingham as both men return to the ring in six round action in Yorkshire this weekend.
Eggington is looking to get back onto the title trail after surrendering his British and Commonwealth Welterweight straps to Bradley Skeete in March, and ‘The Savage’ wants the clash with Gavin to pave the way to retaining those belts.
“The Gavin fight is a tough one,” said Eggington. “I can either wait a year, have a few fights which are good fights but would be paving the same path or I can fight Frankie, beat him, and I am back to where I was before I lost to Bradley Skeete. I am all about the fast route, the quickest route back to where I was, and a win over Frankie puts me back there.
“I would love to win the British title outright but I want the rematch with Bradley more than anything. Beggars can’t be choosers and I am going to have to work my way back up and if it comes again hopefully it would be a different outcome.
“You could say the Frankie fight is bigger with it being a local derby in Birmingham – it will be a bigger fight for the fans.
“We have done a few rounds sparring a while back, and I used to train at his gym for a while, although not with Frankie. We do know each other in general but we are not close friends or anything.
“At the moment I am just looking at Saturday’s fight. When the Frankie fight comes they will have different plans and I will try and pull them off but at the moment there hasn’t been any real talk of the Frankie fight because if this fight goes wrong there is no Frankie fight.”
Gavin returns to action for the first time since challenging Kell Brook for the IBF World title in London last May, with issues outside the ring forcing him onto the side lines. ‘Funtime’ has teamed up with Max McCracken in the time out and says he’d have too much for Eggington as he looks to get back into title contention.
“I really can’t wait to get back in there,” said Gavin. “This has been the toughest part of my career so far. I’ve been out of the ring 15 months now, there has been a lot going on outside the ring with my team.
“I’ve linked up with Max, I’ve known him for years, but we had only spoke for a matter of minutes before I went down the gym for my first session with him. We clicked immediately – Max tells you exactly how it is, he doesn’t mince his words and I respect that.
“I was ringside in March for Sam’s fight against Bradley – it went exactly how I predicted it would. I knew that Skeete would win comfortably – he didn’t step out of second gear. Sam can fight and is a tough kid but boxing-wise he is technically poor. I’m very confident ahead of that fight.
“Once I beat Sam, I just want the big fights, that’s the stage of my career I’m at. I’ve had a World title shot and I’d love another crack. That is my sole focus or to face a massive international name in my division.”