CONNOR Coyle packs up his bags and heads off to the Sunshine State of Florida this morning as he makes the bold move to launch his professional boxing career in the USA.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Galliagh middleweight, John Duddy who carved out a hugely successful pro. career in New York where he fought his way to the cusp of a world title fight, Coyle is hoping to make a similar impact on the East Coast of America.
He joins up with a former St Joseph’s ABC stablemate, John Crilly who is also starting out on an exciting professional career under the tutelage of veteran coach, Jim McLaughlin who trained ex-world light-middleweight champion, Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright.
And with Donegal man Jason Quigley of Golden Boy Promotions making a splash stateside, Coyle has been inspired to give it a go as he makes the crossover into the paid ranks.
In the hope of making his pro. debut in September, the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, felt the time was right to cross the Atlantic given the lack of opportunities in Ireland.
While he’s set up base in sunny Florida, it’s far from a holiday for the 26 year-old who is prepared to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
“America was always on the number one list but certain things happened and held it off,” he explained.
“Now I’m getting the opportunity and I have to take it with both hands. I have a trainer and manager set up around a base in Florida and I have my accommodation sorted.
“I’m working with Jim McLaughlin who is interested in coaching me. They haven’t seen me box yet, they’ve just seen a few clips of me but are interested in having me out.
“Boxing-wise, I think the state of Florida will have the most opportunities for me. They have plenty of sparring partners and I’m hoping there will be plenty of opponents to box. There is a lot of great boxers from that area and who are around there training.”
I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I didn’t show up one day at St Joe’s boxing club and get into the ring.Connor Coyle
Coyle has been racking up the rounds with middleweight contender, Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Steve Collins Jnr at Paschal Collins’ Celtic Warriors Gym in Dublin.
And he believes that experience has been priceless and has helped him realise he’s perfectly suited for the pro. ranks.
Indeed, Coyle has the potential to make the breakthrough in the US given his image and all action, hard hitting style.
“I’ve been down training with Paschal Collins and I’ve been in the ring with Spike O’Sullivan and Steve Collins Jr. and I reckon the pro game will suit me a lot better than the amateur game,” he said.
“I’ve going eight rounds with those boys so I’m upping the rounds. “I start my training camp on Monday in Florida so I’m excited to get started.”
It was far from an easy decision to uproot to the US, however, given how much his personal circumstances have changed dramatically in recent months.
Coyle has recently become a father to his daughter, Clódagh Rose and insists he’s fighting to provide for both her and his girlfriend, Ashleigh.
And he’s hoping Ashleigh and his family will be at ringside when he ducks between the ropes on September 16th - the provisional date for his professional bow.
“I have something to fight for now. I’m not just fighting for myself. I have a little person back home to provide for the rest of my life.
“I’m away for about 10 or 11 weeks initially and I’ll be over there myself to see how it goes.
“If I’m fighting in September my girlfriend and baby will be flying out to me and come over to watch the fight hopefully with a couple of other family members.
“I’m just hoping my career takes off,” he continued. “I’ll be in the gym every day. I’m not going over for a holiday. I’m looking to set up my career”
“Any success would be unbelievable. John Duddy did well and I hope to get as much success as he did.”
After experiencing no end of frustration and setbacks since winning his Commonwealth medal in Glasgow, Coyle is delighted to see the back of the amateur game and move into the paid ranks.
“I can’t wait to get away from the amateur ranks. It’s not that the amateur game didn’t suit me. I just didn’t have the luck with injuries and I was fighting when I wasn’t ready to fight.
“I’ve come nowhere near peaking or reaching my potential. I think the professionals will suit me a lot better especially going into the longer rounds.
“I just turned 26 in May so I probably have a good 10 years left as professional.”
Coyle thanked his sponsors and coaches at St Joe’s ABC for helping shape his career.
“I would never be anywhere near where I’m at today without the St Joe’s ABC coaches. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for them and if I didn’t show up one day at St Joe’s boxing club and get into the ring.”