Unbeaten Derry middleweight Connor Coyle calls out WBA champion Erislandy Lara

UNBEATEN middleweight Connor Coyle’s rapid ascent up the world rankings shows no signs of slowing down and the Derry man is aiming straight for the top.

By Simon Collins
Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 1:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 1:45 pm

Fresh from capturing the vacant NABA middleweight strap in Florida with a split decision victory over American Antonio Todd, ‘The Kid’ Coyle wasted no time in calling out WBA ‘regular’ champion Erislandy Lara.

The win over Todd was the biggest of his professional career as he stretched his unblemished record to 16-0. An expected rise into the WBA’s top 10 rankings should catapult Coyle into the mix for a potential world title shot in the near future.

Having needed to bide his time to get to his current position, the 33 year-old Coyle insists he’s now ready to go straight for the big hitters in the division in search of his coveted world title shot.

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CONGRULATIONS . . . Connor Coyle and his fiancée Eva after their engagement at the Galgorm this week.

The ‘American Dream’, Lara, whose split decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2014 is one of three controversial defeats on his record, defeated Cork’s Spike O’Sullivan with an eight round stoppage in the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York last weekend.

And now Coyle, who got engaged to long term girlfriend Eva Vipartaite at the Galgorm resort on Tuesday, wants to avenge that defeat on his fellow Irishman and says he’s ready for a shot at the 39 year-old veteran Cuban boxer.

“We have a few deals we’re working on at the minute with my coach Jim McLoughlin in America so we just have to play it by ear and see what decision they think is best for me at the minute,” said Coyle.

“Of course Spike O’Sullivan, my fellow Irish man was defeated by Lara at the weekend and that would be a fight for me I would love to take. He’s (Lara) world WBA champion and I’m going to climb into the WBA top 10. I have the belt before the world title so it could be a possibility within the next one or two fights.”

Connor Coyle pictured with his daughter Clódagh-Rose his son, Cálaeb and fiancee, Eva Vipartaite

Anyone who questioned decision to go to the USA to pursue his world title dreams has been proven wrong as Coyle lifted the NABA title last week and he’s more determined than ever to fight for a world title.

“We should’ve had this opportunity a few years ago, obviously it was out of everyone’s hands with Covid. I always knew I would get to where I am now and I know I will get to a world title.

That is the plan. It’s the ultimate goal, to win the world title. I even think I could go on and win multiple world titles and that would be a bonus but in my head Connor Coyle is going to be world champion!” he said emphatically.

While Lara is hoping to fight the winner of the Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin trilogy which takes place in September, a match-up with WBO champion Demetrius Andrade or WBC title holder Jermall Charlo could potentially be the Cuban’s next move. Coyle will be on the other end of the phone, however, if Lara wants to get back in the ring before then.

Connor the Kid Coyle is joined by his family and friends to celebrate his birthday and his recent WBA NABA middleweight title success at the Cosh Bar.

Donegal’s Jason Quigley has also been mentioned in an all-Irish clash which would get plenty of attention on these shores and Coyle is prepared to fight on both sides of the Atlantic if necessary.

“I would also love to fight in the UK and build my fanbase over in the UK and Ireland as well as across the pond in America. I would love to fight in the UK or Ireland anytime this year especially for a big fight now that I’m going to be in the top rankings.

“As I said, I’m in the top 10 now, so I want the title, maybe one or two more fights away from that. But we have had offers from big names, so we’re just sitting back and seeing what’s our best options for now,” he said.

Coyle claimed he displayed about 50 per cent of his capabilities in the win against Todd last week but he was happy with his performance considering one or two obstacles which got in the way of his preparation.

"I’m happy with my performance. I boxed well for the first five or six rounds and Todd came on a bit strong but I won seven out of the 10 rounds in my opinion and could’ve won more. I think I outboxed him for the majority of the fight. Todd was tough but I hurt him a few times. He was a strong opponent and very tricky. I think he would be a lot tougher than some of the top 10 guys.

"So getting him out of the way I think I can get excited to move on to bigger and better top 10 fighters who are not as tricky but who are very good boxers. I think I would handle them a lot better than those tricky, awkward opponents like Todd.

“I was 100 per cent ready to go in and it was the best I ever felt going into the fight but there was a few things that happened just before the fight that left me below my best so to come out with the decision after the performance I gave, I know I have world level boxing abilities and I know I can do it (challenge for world honours).”

He’s not short on confidence and Coyle fully believes he’s on the road to a world title shot.

"If you don’t believe it yourself then you’re just taking up space for someone else. You have to believe it and push on. Of course you have to put the work in and have the talent behind it too to push on. I’m just waiting for that opportunity. I’ve proven it already to be No.10 in the WBA so I’m just waiting for that opportunity and I’ll be ready.”

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