Connor to make Irish senior debut in Prague

THE CAREER of talented Derry middleweight, Connor Coyle continues to rise at a prolific pace as the Galliagh lad is poised to make his senior international debut this week in the Czech Republic.

Already selected to travel to next month’s Commonwealth Games with the N. Ireland boxing squad, Coyle has now been called-up for the Irish panel for a senior ranking tournament in Prague this week.

St Joseph's ABC middleweight, Connor Coyle who will make his Irish senior boxing debut at an international tournament in Prague this week. (DER-23-0306-GMI-03-COYLE)

St Joseph's ABC middleweight, Connor Coyle who will make his Irish senior boxing debut at an international tournament in Prague this week. (DER-23-0306-GMI-03-COYLE)

Coyle (23) flies out today with the five man Ireland squad which includes Steven Ward, Darren O’Neill and Michael Nevin for the high profile six day tournament.

It’ll be a proud moment for Coyle as he dons the green vest of Ireland for the first time at senior level and the Ulster middleweight champion is delighted he’s finally getting the recognition his recent performances have deserved.

“It’s a privilege to represent Ireland,” said Coyle. “It’s about time I got a shot at international level. This is my chance of getting a bit of funding now.

“It’s the first time the Irish team has acknowledged me and thankfully they’re bringing me on board now,” he added. “I’ve been down in Dublin all last week training after I came back from Germany where I was out in a training camp with the Commonwealth Games team.

“I was burnt out after that for a few days but I got a few days rest and now I’m ready to go back at it and I’m looking forward to heading out to the Czech Republic.”

Coyle will mix it up with the best amateur boxers in Russia, France, Poland and England amongst other nations taking part in the prestigious tournament in Prague and with significant financial sponsorship up for grabs for those who finish on the podium, he’s determined to bring back a medal.

“This is a ranking tournament and I think there’s E12,000 at stake if you get to the final,” said the St Joseph’s clubman. “So that would be a stepping stone for the Commonwealth Games.”

And the tournament format of this week’s competition which involves a gruelling six day schedule, will be perfect preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which are a knockout format across eight days of fierce three round bouts.

The Commonwealths begin with the preliminary rounds on July 25th next and Coyle believes he’s well on course with his intense training programme.

“It’ll get me into the fighting mode with this tournament. It’s four days of fighting from Wednesday to Saturday so it’ll be a tough tournament.

“It’s only six weeks out from the Commonwealths so it will help get me ready for that. So four days of fighting with one contest a day. It’s a tough tournament and it’ll be hard to get to the final but it will be good preparation for the Commonwealth Games and it’ll get me into that competitive mode with six weeks to go.”

Coyle goes into this tournament in Prague which gets underway tomorrow, in top condition after a week long training camp in Germany with the Commonwealth panel which was quickly followed by an intense training programme in Dublin with the Irish team.

His trip to Germany proved an invaluable experience and he’s reaping the rewards.

“Germany was fantastic. I was in sparring with a French guy (Christian M’Billi) who beat the Kazakstan world champion five weeks a go and I boxed really well.

“He didn’t really lay a glove on me. I was too good, too slick for him and I just need to take that kind of form into the competitions and get medals.

“I’ve been learning from the best coaches in Ireland and possibly the best coaches in the world at the training base. I was also taking pointers off other boxers’ coaches as well. It was a great experience.”

Coyle is fully focused on his international debut this week and he’s eager to impress the Irish coaches and bring back a medal which would give him confidence as he fine-tunes his Commonwealth preparations.

“It’s my first Irish vest I’ve got, it’s the first time I’ve got to represent an Irish senior team so it’s a brilliant achievement and I can’t wait to show them the talent I have.

“I have to keep going forward now at this pace. I had to leave my job to go into full time training but I managed to get a couple of sponsors in and I’d like to thank them for supporting me and helping me get to this point in my career.”