GOLDEN boy Luke Campbell wants to come of age tonight — and prove he is finally a man on a world title mission.
Ever since the baby-faced Hull hero won at the 2012 London Olympics he has been tipped for greatness.
But, aged 33 and with three boys at home with wife Lynsey, the lightweight must now beat American Ryan Garcia, 22, in Texas to secure a third world title bid in 2021.
Campbell lost both previous efforts against Hall-of-Fame certainties Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
And now he must prove he is the real deal in Dallas — and that Garcia is a flash in the pan.
Campbell said: “I just want to be recognised as one of the best lightweights in the world.
“I want to be recognised for everything I have achieved, everything I have tried and done.
“I’m not interested in the glitz, glamour and fame. Just because I’m on a big stage, it doesn’t change my values, they’ve always been the same.
“I have matured a bit later than most people — I look back at myself in previous fights and see a boy.
“I’ve worked my arse off to get here and want to prove myself but still be the same person that I have always been.”
Campbell’s trainer Shane McGuigan has watched his fighter mature since they joined forces in 2018.
And the boy he started working with at his old Wandsworth base is now the main man around their new Kent gym, after an overdue growth spurt.
McGuigan said: “From a physical standpoint, even though he is 33, he is only really filling into his physicality now. He has been a late bloomer in that sense.
“Luke has always joked about being a kid growing up and all his mates getting deep voices and facial hair long before him and he didn’t get it until a lot later.
“I feel he is in his prime now. We are up against a fresh kid — but Luke has all the lessons he learned from his victories and defeats.”
Garcia is the latest social-media sensation to hit boxing, with 7.8million Instagram followers willing him to claim victory tonight.
Being the sport’s youngest cash cow during a crippling pandemic means a lot of important people have a lot of money riding on the handsome left-hooker.
And experienced McGuigan, son of Irish icon Barry, believes that a stunning KO might be the only way to guarantee a victory — especially on foreign soil.
He warned: “Garcia will be dangerous all the way through. And we are not going to get the close rounds from the judges.
“I think we have to knock Garcia out but I know Luke can do that.”
And Campbell, who prides himself on dodging all the hype and trash talk that sells cheaply in boxing, added: “I am just expecting the best Ryan Garcia.
“I am expecting to get in with a world-class opponent so that is what I have prepared for — someone who has speed and power.
“But this is my time to shine and I don’t want to just win this fight, I want to win it in style. I want to hit him and hurt him.
“I want to prove I am the best in the division and beating Ryan will answer a lot of questions other people still ask about me.”
Watch Campbell v Garcia tonight from 8pm on DAZN
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