Luke Campbell looking forward to Shane McGuigan link up

Last Updated August 01 2018, 19:41Boxing
Luke Campbell
Luke Campbell

Luke Campbell chose to return to the UK to train with Shane McGuigan to escape the "loneliness" he felt in Miami and to rebuild his profile after his years in the wilderness.

The lightweight and Olympic gold medallist relocated to the US in early 2016 to work with the respected Cuban Jorge Rubio but in the time since last September's defeat by Jorge Linares concluded he needed a new approach.

A brief trial with McGuigan, like Campbell also 30, in the gym alongside one-time amateur roommate George Groves convinced him to base himself in London - and from there also rediscover the relevance he had until his move to Miami took him from the spotlight.

A rematch with France's Yvan Mendy - the only other to defeat Campbell as a professional - is to be confirmed, and he is relishing the prospect of combining his new training regime with the chance to return to his Hull home at weekends, having had to leave his family for months at a time.

"I was in Miami six and a half to seven months of the year - it's a long time to be away for," he said. "Most of that time I was on my own as well; the only time I'd see someone was when I was at the gym.

"I'd been there two and a half-years, away from everybody. Not only my family, but the media, from everything. I was away from it all. Every time I used to tell my [two, young] sons I was going away to Miami they used to start crying.

"[I was] homesick, lonely. A couple of times I'd fly a friend out, just to give me some company. Very, very lonely. I was going to different gyms, different environments, sparring Cuban amateur world champions, and unbeaten professionals from all over - South America, [North] America.

"I had to go and earn respect and it's hard doing that on your own. I had no one in my ear whispering comfort things, giving me a boost. But it toughened me up, mentally.

"I wasn't necessarily looking for a new coach, but I made a connection with Shane - I had a session with him, and from that one session I had I thought 'I've needed this; I want this'."

Since splitting with Carl Frampton and David Haye, McGuigan has led WBA super-middleweight champion Groves to the World Boxing Super Series final against Callum Smith in Saudi Arabia on September 28, and he plans to have a similar effect on Campbell's conditioning.

"He's got unbelievable attributes that he hasn't maximised," the trainer said. "He can really punch, has good evasive skills, but lacks natural strength; we can bring that up.

"His physique, he's not naturally strong, but he's explosive, so if I can build strength, and work on strategy; he hasn't gone into a lot of fights with the right game plan. He was coming into the ring far too light, like a featherweight."

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