POWERFUL Derry middleweight, Conor Coyle is determined to exact revenge on the man who ended his hopes of an Ulster Elite title in December 2011 when he re-ignites his rivalry with Immaculata’s J. P. Delaney in tonight’s enticing final at The Venue, Ebrington Square.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The 22 year-old St Joseph’s ABC member experienced the heartbreak of a slender 9-8 defeat to Delaney in the 2012 Elite decider at The Emerald Roadhouse, Belfast 13 months ago.
And having cruised emphatically into this year’s showpiece, the Galliagh lad believes he knows exactly what it takes to lift gold at the Waterside venue.
When the two boxers last went toe-to-toe, they fought at light-heavyweight but Coyle looks a lot slicker and dangerous at 75kgs and if his semi-final at Pilot’s Row on Wednesday night is anything to go by, the attendance at tonight’s high profile event are in for a treat.
Coyle booked his place in the middleweight final with a devastating second round stoppage of his Cavan opponent, Stephen Flynn, on Wednesday night at the Rossville Street venue and he was delighted he got through with a round and a half to spare.
“I’m delighted to make it through,” said Coyle afterwards. “I knew what I had to do from the start and I went hell for leather in the first round.
“I hit him with a good right hand at the start of the round and it hurt him so I knew if I could step in and keep him under pressure the fight would go my way.
“I didn’t give him a chance to hit me back. In the second round I caught him with a right hook to the body and then a right to the head straight after it and I just knew that was it over.”
Indeed, Coyle didn’t give his opponent an opportunity to test him, as he shook Flynn with a heavy bombardment in the opening seconds of the first round. And just 10 seconds after the opening bell, Coyle’s fast and furious approach worked wonders as he landed flush with a powerful right hand to the temple forcing Flynn to take a standing eight count.
Coyle looked sharp and stalked his opponent around the ring clearly seeking a quick stoppage and the sheer velocity of punches from the St. Joseph’s man had him well on top on the judge’s scorecards as the bell sounded to signal the end of the round.
It was much of the same at the start of the second as Coyle continued to be the aggressor and 30 seconds into the scheduled three minute round the Derry lad had his opponent bent on one knee when he landed a clinical right hook to the body followed swiftly with a right hand to the head forcing referee, Sadie Duffy to bring an end to proceedings.
The hard-hitting Coyle can now look forward to challenging for the title in front of his hometown support and, following what he believes was a questionable defeat to Delaney from Lower Fall’s Road club, Immaculata in last year’s final, he is anxious to dethrone the reigning Ulster champion.
“I’m really looking forward to the final, in front of the home support,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back in the ring and do the business again on Friday night. “I’ll just do the same as I did in the semi-final from the first round and once I let my punches go it’s hard to stand when someone’s putting the pressure on you and has a bit of power.
“I know what I have to do to win. I need to stay in the centre of the ring and let the punches go. I’m confident I can win it.”