Connor Coyle hopes for second shot at middleweight showdown with Chris Eubank Jr
CONNOR ‘The Kid’ Coyle wasn’t prepared to put his unblemished record on the line against world middleweight contender Chris Eubank Junior with just six days’ notice but the Derry puncher is more than willing to take up the offer before the end of the year.
The WBA interim middleweight champion (30-2-0) offered Coyle the chance to step in as a late replacement for his Sky Sports televised bout last Saturday when his original opponent Sven Elbir tested positive for Covid.
After discussions with his American based team, Coyle decided it would be too big a gamble without a full camp at such a crucial stage in his career. Anatoli Muratov then accepted the challenge before the fight was called off at the final hour after the German failed a medical.
A frustrated Eubank was forced to watch the bill ringside at the SSE Arena, Wembley but he's been added to the blockbuster BOXXER Fight night in Newcastle next Saturday when he takes on Wanik Awidjan (28-01-0) at Utilita Arena and recently declared his intentions to negotiate a potential world title shot in December.
Like Eubank, Coyle (14-0-0) has been inactive since last May, when he scored a technical decision win over Mexican Edgar Ortega in an outdoor fight which was called to a halt in the latter rounds due to a heavy rainstorm in Cancun. And while the call to fight Eubank came too soon, he believes he has the skillset to beat the 32 year-old son of former middleweight champion, Chris, and declared he would be ready for the fight before the end of the year.
“We got the phone call on the Saturday night and the fight was scheduled for the following Saturday so we had more or less six days notice and my weight was under control. If it was then I could’ve taken the fight.
“I’m always training and ticking over but you need to be a lot more than that. You need to be ready. Nobody is going to be ready at six days notice. It would be very difficult.
“There would be too much to lose,” agreed the 30 year-old. “Especially for me at 14-0. My career is just about to kick-start. I’m undefeated and ready to step into the bigger fights now and I want to keep that ‘0’. I want to step in with the bigger names and I want to beat them as well. I’m not just going to be there to make up numbers, I want to be there to be the best.”
The Galliagh man’s professional career has been largely based in the USA but Covid, travel restrictions and visa issues have scuppered his plans of pursuing his world title dreams stateside. Coyle believes he’s gone under the radar in the UK boxing scene having opted for a similar route to the top as former Derry middleweight contender, John Duddy, who also crossed the Atlantic to break into the American market.
Circumstances have dictated a change in plans and Coyle is hoping to be ‘thrown in the mix’ with the big fights in the UK and Ireland having ‘paid my dues’.He certainly thinks Eubank’s offer to fight is a sign that the top names in the division are beginning to take notice.
“My name’s been thrown in the mix,” he continued. “To have an offer like that from Eubank is a good sign and I’m willing to step into those big fights soon because I think I’ve paid my dues now and I’m ready for them.
“Fighting and beating Eubank would’ve put me right up into a world title contender position but I wasn’t going to take the fight just for the money on six days notice because I wouldn’t want to be stepping in as an opponent. I would be going in there to beat him,” he insisted.
“We left it by telling them we wouldn’t be ready in six days but we would be interested in the fight. If he wants to fight in December or before the end of this year then we’re more than happy to start getting ready for it. We’re training now as if we’re going to get another phone call but it’s a fight we’re willing to take down the line. I’m definitely interested.
"And Roy Jones Jr. is training him. I was speaking to Roy Jones a couple of weeks ago about sparring with Eubank. It’s something that could potentially happen down the line if not sooner.”
Coyle is expected to be back in the ring next month in Belfast but he believes the big fights are ‘just around the corner’.
“We’re going to keep training and ticking over. I have a potential fight coming up at the beginning of November to get me going again but I can’t say too much until it’s confirmed. I’ll keep training and these big fights are just around the corner.”
Eubank, who has notable wins over James De Gale and Arthur Abraham on his record, is currently rated the No. 1 contender by the WBA at 160lbs. However, Coyle believes he’s got his number.
“The Eubank fight is definitely a fight I’d be interested in. I definitely believe I have the tools to beat him. I think it would be a great fight to boost me right up the rankings.
“It would definitely be a tough fight. He’s not ranked number one for no reason. It would be a tough fight but I definitely have the skillset to beat him. With my footwork, he can’t really handle opponents with good movement so that would give him problems alone, never mind everything else I have to come with it.”
Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley hit the headlines this week when announcing his fight with WBO champion Demetrius Andrade on November 19th and Coyle is delighted for the Twin Towns man. He’s confident it’s only a matter of time before he also gets what he deserves.
“I’m glad he’s got his world title shot,” said Coyle. “He deserves it. He’s had a good career and has trained hard his whole life. I know my time is going to come, it has to because I’ve been training hard my whole life as well.
“I just feel it’s within reach now. Getting those offers from Chris Eubank Jr. at six days notice means someone is noticing me and knows who I am. I have sort of been brushed under the carpet and haven’t really been getting the recognition I deserve.
“Once I start lifting these titles and beating the big names then more and more people will know exactly who I am, especially in the middleweight division. I am coming and I want to get to the top of the division."