Derry's unbeaten middleweight Connor Coyle has eye on the big prize ahead of ring return in Florida
CONNOR Coyle insists he won’t take Mexican opponent Silverio Ortiz for granted despite having one eye on bigger challenges ahead.
The unbeaten middleweight (16-0) has shot up the world rankings and sits at No. 9 with the WBA as he finally makes some headway towards his world title dream.
‘People are starting to take notice’ and the phone is ringing a lot more frequently with potential fight deals since he clinched the vacant North American Boxing Association middleweight strap with a split decision win over Antonio Todd in Orlando last May.
He defends the belt for the first time against tough Argentine Rolando Wenceslao Mansilla (18-10-1) in Boston on October 29th but he must first take care of Ortiz in Tampa, Florida this Saturday as he looks to stretch his unblemished record to 17-0.
Coyle says he’s learned from past experiences and won’t underestimate his opponent as he focuses on getting the job done.
“Every fight is important now,” said the former St Joseph’s ABC clubman. “When the higher profile fights start it will motivate me even more. Even though I always train hard, it’s just about having that fire in the belly and realising if you win those high profile fights, how much closer you’re getting to becoming a world champion.
“My opponent on Saturday is your typical Mexican fighter,” he added. “He’s going to be tough. He’s coming to fight. He won’t be laying down and he’s beaten multiple undefeated fighters before. Some boys thought he would be a walk in the park but he’s beaten guys who were 15-0 and 16-0 before so I won’t be taking him for granted at all.
“Although I will be the bigger fighter, the bigger man on the night, I’ve taken people for granted before and I’ve got a shock in the ring, thinking it would be easier than it was. I’ve learned from the past and will never be as complacent again. I’ll treat every fight as a world title fight. I’ll be going in on my game, looking to get the job done, get the win; whether that’s a knockout or on points, as long as I get the win.”
If he can look impressive and make a statement in the process, then all the better.
“This fight, I need to go out and make a statement against this guy. I need to be going out and putting him away, putting him to sleep. I can’t just be going out and looking good over how many rounds it goes, I need to make a mark and prove something in the fight.
“At the same time I’m not going to put the pressure on myself to do that. It should happen anyway with the training we’ve been doing in camp, my fitness levels, strength, speed, footwork - everything is just coming together at the right time.
“I’ll go out and enjoy it and put the pressure on as the rounds go on. If I do see an opening I’ll take it.”
Saturday’s fight is a means to an end as he tunes up for a tougher challenge in his first defence of the NABA title against Mansilla next month at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Massachusetts.
“We’re getting on this card to get another win under our belt. We want to build that record up to about 19-0 or 20-0 and push for the big, big fights. I think we’re ready for the big fights after this one.”
Coyle has taken confidence and motivation from his rise up the rankings and he feels his target of becoming world middleweight champion is on the right track.
“People are starting to take notice and take on board my name. Offers are starting to come in. People know my name in the division. I’m No. 9 now with WBA, I moved up this month. My focus is on this fight on Saturday and anything can happen now at this stage.
“To be number nine in the world is an amazing feeling. It gives you that much more drive. I have to just keep proving I belong here and I’m working towards something bigger. I want to be a world champion. Number nine is good but I want to be world champion and that’s the end goal, regardless of who’s in front of me. That’s what I want to accomplish.”
“And I’d like to thank Cahir Duffy, my strength and conditioning coach Kyle Wallace and nutritionist Mark Doherty for helping me get to camp in the best possible shape.”
Coyle would like to thank the following sponsors: Phones Connect; KSK Rathmor Engineering; The Sooty Olive; The Bentley Bar & Restaurant Group; Paul’s Butchers; Curley’s Cars; Classique Floor Designs; Indian Palace; CKFS.