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Connor Coyle closing in on homecoming card following maiden title victory

Connor Coyle [8(3)-0] is leaving the prospect stage of his career and is ready bring boxing back to the Irish North-West.

The Derry middleweight won his first title at the weekend, claiming the NBA Inter-Continental belt with a sixth round stoppage of Danny Pastrana in the headline fight of a FireFist Boxing card at the Coliseum in St Petersburg, Florida.

A ‘building belt’, the Florida-based eight-round title and a maiden headline appearance – which came following an extended camp – has Coyle in top form and there are big plans in play for the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.

‘The Kid’ told Irish-Boxing.com that “it’s was an amazing feeling to lift my first professional title.”

“Not a bad title either, the likes of Roy Jones Jr, Winky Wright, and Roberto Duran all won the same title starting off as well.”

“It was electric atmosphere in the arena, I had goosebumps coming up into the ring, the whole crowd was cheering, amazing experience.”

“The fan base I’ve built up over the last 18 months have been unbelievable, I’m very grateful and overwhelmed.”

Having been in camp since February, Coyle admits that he was a bit over-eager on Saturday night but, overall, is pleased with his performance against a tough, prepared foe.

Looking back on the clash, the Foylesider noted how “I was itching to get in and fight. I couldn’t sit still. I was bouncing out of my skin!”

“Once that first bell went he came out and hammered a solid jab and tried to put it right through my chest. I knew I was in for a good fight! So I got carried away and both of us swung heavy blows, both catching each flush to the body and head. I buckled him with a left hook to the body in the first round and I tried to finish him, but he held on for dear life.”

“Once the end bell went from the first round and I went back to my corner, my coach’s first words was ‘what the hell are you doing?!This is not our game plan! Stick to the game plan!'”

“So the bell went for the second round and I went out and established a hard sharp jab. He couldn’t deal with that and the foot work, and our plan was to take him out into the later rounds, so the game plan went perfect.”

It was a nice clean finish for 28-year-old Coyle who, following three impressive wins on the spin, is keen to continue progressing.

Backed by legendary Florida trainer Jim McLoughlin and FireFist Boxing, there are more belts in the pipeline and perhaps even a homecoming in the near future.

Coyle revealed how “our next plans is to fight for another title on October 6th back in Florida, and possibly the NBA World Title.”

“We are also taking about coming to Ireland to promote a show in Letterkenny after the new year.”

While here’s a homecoming on the horizon, Coyle admits he hasn’t been following the Irish scene too closely, preferring to focus on himself.

The 160lbs division is booming currently. At world level, Spike O’Sullivan, whom Coyle has sparred previously, is set to fight in Vegas this September while North West rival Jason Quigley is back following a long-term injury.

In April, Luke Keeler defeated Conrad Cummings in a huge domestic dust-up while a fight seems to be brewing between Vlad Belujsky and Darren Cruise.

Coyle is happy to be part of a rising tide in Irish boxing which he feels “has amazing talent, in all weigh categories, professional and amateur.”

“I haven’t had the time to be following up on any other middleweights, I’ll probably watch the Quigley fight [v Daniel Rosario], he’s going well, fair play to him. All the middleweights are doing great.”

Photo Credit: Scott Foster


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie