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Derry Mathews has tipped Luke Campbell to become a future world champion ahead of his return to the ring.

The 26-year-old Olympic gold medallist took a break from the sport after his father’s cancer diagnosis, but is back in action on Saturday’s bumper Liverpool bill, live on Sky Sports.

Lightweight rival Mathews has watched Campbell’s progress with interest and expects him to succeed at world level.

“He’s the cream of the crop. I just think Luke is going to be one of the best fighters in the world,” Mathews told Sky Sports.

“I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s big for the weight, seems to be a puncher now. Maybe not in the amateurs he wasn’t a puncher, but all of a sudden he’s knocking people out.

“I think he can go right to the very top.”

Welshman Craig Woodruff is expected to be in the opposite corner as Campbell targets his sixth straight win since joining the professional ranks.

Mathews, a two-time British champion, believes Campbell is just two fights away from challenging for a first title.

“With the experience he has got from the amateurs, I think he is ready in two more fights,” said the Liverpudlian.

“I would do a six and an eight or two eight-rounders and then maybe an English title. If I was him, I’d go English title, British title, Commonwealth, European then fight for a world title.

“He’s an Olympic gold medallist, he’s the world’s best and I just think he’s very, very good and it’s just about getting the rounds in the gym and in sparring.”

An exciting domestic division includes the likes of Anthony Crolla and Kevin Mitchell, who are both hoping to land world title fights in the near future.

Manchester’s Crolla is targeting WBA King Richar Abril, while Mitchell has been pursuing IBF champion Miguel Vazquez.

Mathews has twice fought Crolla, halting him in 2012 before a drawn rematch, and doubts whether his old foe can compete with Abril.

“Listen if the fight happens good luck to Anthony but let’s be realistic about this, he can’t beat me,” said the 30-year-old. “He’s not even the best in the North West, that’s what I keep saying and he’s talking about fighting Abril.

“If it does happen, good luck to him let the best man win, but there’s no way he deserves a shot at that let’s be realistic. Kevin Mitchell deserves a shot more than him.”

Reflecting on Mitchell’s possible match-up with Vazquez, Mathews added: “If the fight happens here it will be a great fight and I hope Kevin does it because I like him as a person.

“He’s a massive, massive puncher at the weight and I think he can beat Vazquez.”

www1.skysports.com

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