Luke Campbell defiant after world title defeat

Luke Campbell: Beaten on points.

Luke Campbell failed in his bid to win the WBA lightweight title after a tight contest against Jorge Linares in California fell to a split decision.

The Yorkshireman claimed gold at London 2012 as part of an excellent amateur career, but this was by far the toughest test since he turned professional.

Luke Campbell failed in his bid to win the WBA lightweight title after a tight contest against Jorge Linares in California fell to a split decision. (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

Campbell endured a bad start, being floored in the second, and while he recovered in the later rounds, the Venezuelan used all his experience to close out the win.

Scot Victor Loughlin scored the contest 115-113 to Campbell, but the other judges gave it to Linares with scores of 115-112 and 114-113.

The defeat is the second of Campbell’s career after his shock loss to Yvan Mendy in 2015, while Linares – whose last two fights were points victories over Mancunian Anthony Crolla – extended his record to 43 wins.

The first round was a cagey affair with Linares landing a good right hand and it was the right that put Campbell to the canvas in the second.

A nasty cut opened under Campbell’s right eye and while the Hull boxer recovered well, Linares was still landing the better shots and Campbell was left with too much to do in the second half of the contest.

He was excellent in the middle and later rounds and fought his way back to make it close on the scorecards, but Linares never looked particularly troubled.

In the ring afterwards, Campbell said: “No-one can ever doubt my heart.

“I got off to a rocky start, he hit me with a nice clean shot in the second round, caught me on the eye and cut it. I wasn’t dazed or anything like that, just a nice shot that put me on my back.

“From then, I had double-vision in one eye for the rest of the fight.

“I thought I won the fight. He’s a great champion but I thought I outclassed him. I didn’t think he was landing any shots whatsoever and I was catching him with all the clean shots.”

Hughie Fury came up short in his brave bid to wrest the WBO heavyweight title from champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday night.

Fury, the cousin of former world champion Tyson, who was at ringside, dropped a majority points decision with two judges favouring the New Zealander 118-110 while the third scored the contest a 114-114 draw.

The scoring reflected the wildly split opinions at ringside with Parker’s ponderous front-foot action contrasting with Fury’s bid to claim the title on the back foot.

Ultimately, despite an encouraging start Fury was not quite busy enough to win the title after a bout which will hardly have Anthony Joshua losing any sleep.

Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, was crestfallen with the decision and compared his charge’s display to that of Muhammad Ali.

He said: “I thought he skated it, it was an absolute masterclass, shades of Ali. It was beautiful boxing in the heavyweight division.

“Parker wasn’t even in the fight, any punches he was throwing were either missing or hitting elbows or hitting gloves, it was very rare he got through with a clean shot. Hughie absolutely skated that fight. That is probably one of, if not the worst, decisions I’ve ever seen in my life, it was disgusting, absolutely disgusting.”

Peter Fury, Hughie’s father and trainer, was more measured, saying: “I thought he did win it but I wanted him to do more, I wanted him to use the right hand, I wanted him to be more confident and let his shots go.

“I still had him the clear winner because Joseph missed a hell of a lot. He’s not had a good decision but there you are, this is boxing.”

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