Connor Coyle 'lucky' to escape Hurricane Ian unscathed as he leaves Florida for 'huge' London fight
CONNOR 'The Kid' Coyle counts himself 'lucky' to have completed his Florida training camp unscathed as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the US mainland left a path of destruction in its wake this week.
The unbeaten Derry middleweight has been based in Pinellas Park on Florida's Gulf Coast for the past two months and was putting the finishing touches to his training camp ahead of next Saturday's 10 round clash with Felix Cash at the sold-out O2 Arena in London for the WBA Intercontinental title, when disaster struck.
The WBA's No. 9 ranked middleweight and current NABA title holder was getting ready to jet out to the English capital for fight week when he faced an unexpected challenge from Mother Nature as 'historic' Hurricane Ian tore its way through the southeast coast.
The scale of the wreckage was staggering as the storm pulverised roads, toppled trees and left homes and businesses without power.
Coyle witnessed trees falling on houses around his temporary home in Pinellas Park and as the US state faces a massive clean-up from the destruction which reportedly killed more than 30 people, the Derry man expressed his sympathy with all those impacted.
“I’d never seen a hurricane before because we don’t get storms like this at home,” said the Galliagh man. “There were trees that tore out of the ground and landed on houses a few doors down here in Pinellas Park, so we were very lucky to have no damage or any interruptions in training. My thoughts are with everybody in Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian.”
Coyle will travel to London this week for the build-up to Saturday's fight, the biggest of his career screened live on DAZN on the Born Rivals undercard headlined by Chris Eubank Jr. and Connor Benn.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games medallist (17-0) believes his fellow unbeaten opponent, Cash (15-0) and the packed arena will bring out the best in him.
“Felix is a skilled and highly rated fighter, so we’ve been working on specific things to get ready the moment we knew about this fight,” said Coyle.
“I expect he’ll bring out the best of me because this is a huge fight. We’ve put a plan together that’ll work to our advantage and take my career to the next level.”