Western Warrior to battle Argentinean in Mayo
Henry “The Western Warrior” Coyle returns to the Royal Theatre, Castlebar on Friday, August 17th to make the first defence of his WBF Light Middleweight title against experienced Argentinean Marcelo Alejandro Rodriguez on another big night of professional boxing in County Mayo.
Coyle won the title when he stopped Italy’s Elio Cotena last year in front of a packed audience at the Royal Theatre which included Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Sport Michael Ring and he will be hoping to recreate the electric atmosphere from that night as he bids to repel his South American challenger.
The card will also feature the return of Cavan’s Andy Murray as he looks to get back to winning ways following his points defeat to European Champ Gavin Rees in Cardiff last year. Murray, like Coyle will face an Argentinian opponent in the shape of Sergio Omar Priotti.
Cork based Cuban Alexei Collado will also be out to impress as he aims to take a step closer to a world title challenge with his impressive undefeated record currently standing at 15 wins and all but one of those wins coming via stoppage.
The undercard will have plenty to interest local fight fans as well with an intriguing all Connaught middleweight clash between Galway’s Alan Donnellan and Roscommon’s Darren Cruise. Two Ballyhaunis boxers will punch for pay for the first time on the card – against each other as welterweights Michael Waldron andBrandon Peake face each other on their professional debuts in an all Mayo affair. Sligo’s long time Irish amateur stalwart Stephen “Block” Reynolds is pencilled in for his second pro outing on the card in what promises to be a busy few weeks for the cruiserweight with his debut already set for Belfast later this month.
With that line up the Royal Theatre is expected to have another full house and Coyle knows that all eyes will be on him as he looks to make a successful first defence of the WBF Light Middleweight belt.
“Winning the WBF title was undoubtedly the highlight of my career to date,” recalled Coyle. “To win the title in front of my own fans in Castlebar was a dream come true and I’ll be looking to deliver a repeat performance next month. The support last time was massive, I’ve always had great support right throughout my career going back to my amateur days but that night was something special and hopefully we can do it all again next month.”
The Geesala native knows he can’t afford any slip ups against Rodriguez, a veteran of 79 pro fights with 43 knockouts on his resume. “I have to give credit to my opponent, he’s coming all the way from Argentina and he’s not coming for the weather, he’s coming to take my title,” said Coyle.
“He’s a big puncher and very experienced. He has been in there with some of the best in the world and he’s had over twice as many knockouts as I’ve had fights so I have to respect that. My Dad and my trainer Sam Colonna will watch some of his past fights and come up with the game plan and then it will be my job to implement it on the night.”
Having made a flying visit home for today’s press conference at McHale Park in Castlebar Coyle returns to his Chicago base this week to continue his training camp for the bout. Father and manager Gerry is confident that they can repeat the success of last years event. “I know that everyone who was there last year will be back again because we got so many message, calls, emails and text afterwards from people saying what an incredible night it was. We knew we had to run with it again and we are very grateful to the people of Mayo because they have been so supportive.
“The Royal Theatre is a wonderful venue for boxing, there isn’t a bad seat in the house and the atmosphere the people of Mayo generated there last year had to be seen to be believed. We’re delighted that Henry will be able to make the first defence of his title at home and we’re very happy to be working with the World Boxing Foundation again. Henry will have his hands full with Rodriquez because he’s vastly experienced and has travelled the world to fight some of the very best around but Henry got a good eight rounds under his belt in his last fight in Chicago last month and that will all stand to him as part of the preparations for next month.”
Tickets for the August 17th event priced from €40, €60 and €100 go on sale from 9am on Tuesday morning (July 10th) from the Royal Theatre Box Office on 0818 300 000, Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and the boxers on the bill.