LONDON -- Vasiliy Lomachenko showed why he is arguably the world's best boxer by earning a unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell, who battled bravely until the end without seriously threatening Lomachenko at The O2 Arena on Saturday.
Ukraine's Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), 31, based in Oxnard, California, controlled the fight, but Campbell's survival instincts and boxing IQ denied him the spectacular finish he craved on his return to London, where he won the second of his Olympic gold medals in 2012.
Lomachenko defended his WBA and WBO world titles and won the vacant WBC belt, leaving Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) with some questions concerning his future.
What did Campbell do wrong?
Lomachenko, Campbell trade big blows in the seventh
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell exchange heavy blows in an electric seventh round of their championship bout.
Campbell, 31, who is from Hull in northern England but trains in London, could not be faulted for his bravery. But when it came to speed of hand, footwork and array of punches, there was only ever one winner: Lomachenko.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist was nailed by two or three shots before he could even plant his feet -- Lomachenko is that fast -- but Campbell kept coming forward, even after he was dropped in the 11th round.
"Luke Campbell did not disgrace himself. He fought a hell of a fight -- he will be back," said Lomachenko's promoter Bob Arum, who has been in the business for over 50 years.
Campbell never showed any sign of being awestruck and it was Lomachenko who made the quieter start, landing only one punch in the first round. But once Lomachenko got it going, Campbell could not get out of the way of a constant barrage of crunching left hooks to the body the rest of the fight. Lomachenko was just too good.
Where does Campbell go from here?
Campbell's third professional defeat should not be seen as evidence of a decline in form, but it does leave him with limited options at lightweight.
Lomachenko now holds three of the world titles, and Campbell is not ranked in the top 15 with the other world governing body overseeing the fourth belt (IBF).
Campbell's future at lightweight hinges on Lomachenko's plans. If the Ukrainian fights the Richard Commey-Teofimo Lopez winner and subsequently unifies all the belts, Campbell will be strongly tempted to move up a weight class rather than pursue a rematch with Lomachenko.
If the belts are fractured, Campbell is among the best of the rest at lightweight along with Mikey Garcia (if he stays at lightweight), Commey, Robert Easter Jr. and Lopez.
Campbell is tall for a lightweight, which helps with the decision to move up to 140 pounds, where he would not have to face someone of Lomachenko's class.
Campbell's previous defeats should also be kept in perspective. When he lost to Yvan Mendy in 2015, Campbell had been ill the week before the fight. And when he challenged Jorge Linares for the WBA belt two years ago, Campbell lost a narrow split decision.
Lomachenko is in a class of his own, and it would be wrong to dismiss Campbell's hopes of winning a world title based on the fact he could not pull off a huge upset.
"Tonight was Lomachenko's night and my time will come," Campbell said.
Campbell's loss continues losing trend for Brits
Top British boxers have suffered against the world's best recently, and this fight was no different.
Pound-for-pound king Lomachenko has now beaten two English boxers in successive fights after making quick work of Anthony Crolla in April.
American welterweight Terence Crawford, No. 2 in ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings, stopped Amir Khan in six rounds a week after Lomachenko's fourth-round knockout of Crolla.
Canelo Alvarez, the pound-for-pound No. 3 and world middleweight No. 1, has feasted on English boxers in recent years: Rocky Fielding was stopped in three rounds in December, and Liam Smith and Khan were both knocked out by the Mexican fighter in 2016.
At the bantamweight level, Japan's Naoya Inoue -- rated No. 4 in ESPN's latest pound-for-pound list -- obliterated Jamie McDonnell in one round last year.
Is Campbell as good as we thought he was?
Yes. Campbell can be proud of his display, even though the scorecards were not close.
Campbell deserves credit for denying the champion a stoppage win and becoming the fifth of Lomachenko's 15 opponents to fight him for 12 rounds. Campbell showed great heart when he returned fire after a difficult fifth round, when Lomachenko looked to be on the verge of stopping him.
Campbell does not have long left to win a world title, but he has not had many hard fights. With the right strategic moves, he should earn another shot within 18 months.