Connor Coyle [12(5)-0] has his sights set on some big American fight nights but his content to keep busy south of the border for now.
The Derry middle fight for the first time 15 months when he takes to the ring in Chihuahua, Mexico tonight. It’s a step away from the spotlight for the former UFC Fight Pass regular and Roy Jones promoted fighter takes on Mexican journeyman Esteban Villalba [12(8)-23(5)-3]. It’s a fight Coyle will be well fancied to win and is a step back in terms of his more recent opponents. However, it’s a fight that serves a purpose and one the 160lbs fighter is happy to take knowing what awaits later in the year.
“If I can get to Mexico and brush off these next couple of fights, then I’ll go for the bigger fights closer to the end of the year. We have a couple of big things lined up for when I get back to America. But just getting back is my main priority for now.
“It’s good that I’ve got that focus again and can build my record up again. I’ll try and break into the world top 10 by the end of the year if possible,” he told the Derry Journal before explaining how Mexico came out.
“With the current restrictions it’s just difficult to get a fight,” he adds.
“I’ve been training hard since after Christmas and I needed to get back into the ring. An opportunity came up in Mexico and we took it so I’m ready and eager to get on the plane and do my thing again.”
Joe Ward recently used Mexico for similar purposes and got two fights in during a week. Coyle won’t be taking that approach and will be in and out over a weekend.
“My whole team from Florida will meet me at the airport when I land and will be in my corner,” he confirmed. “I’ll land at 10p.m. on Thursday, weigh in on Friday, fight Saturday and travel home again on Sunday.”
“It’s straight over and back. I’ve never had this situation before but I know when I travel to Florida it’s a full day travelling. I get there, go to sleep and I’m able to go training the next day. The jet lag doesn’t normally kick in until a good week or so afterwards so I think I should be okay in that regard.”
“We were talking to MTK Global about a possible WBO European title fight but then it didn’t happen so I had to get another fight soon.
Villalba doesn’t pose the kind of threat Coyle’s two most recent Mexican opponents, who were both stopped, did. He is a journeyman who at the very most should give the Commonwealth Games medalist rounds, although Coyle is building him up to be a challenge to ensure he doesn’t overlook him.
“Mexican fighters are renowned for being durable and I’m expecting this guy to be the toughest Mexican I’ve faced so far. He’s hungry for the win and is fighting to put food on his table. He’s from Chihuahua which is a tough part of Mexico so he will be tough and will be expecting to go the duration.
“We’ve been working a lot on body work so we will be focusing on the body to finish him but I’m fit enough to go the rounds. I’ll be ready no matter what. I’ll just go out, enjoy it and get the rounds under my belt. If the opportunity comes I’ll take him out of there.
“You don’t get paid for overtime but it would be nice to get a few rounds under my belt and shake off the cobwebs that have been gathering over the last 15 months.”