Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



Coyne confident he can upset Cleverly


Unbeaten light heavyweight contender Ryan Coyne has huge admiration for WBO holder Nathan Cleverly but insists that will not stop him from causing a major upset next month and dethroning the Welshman.

Cleverly will defend his belt against the American on Nov. 10 as part of the Showtime-televised card at Staples Center in Los Angeles, after agreeing to travel across the Atlantic for only the second time in his unblemished career. The Brit, 25, views the match-up as the perfect opportunity to make a significant statement in the States, while his promoter, Frank Warren, believes a classy victory should lead to a unification showdown with WBA holder Beibut Shumenov.

Some critics, though, suspect a successful fourth defense for an over-protected Cleverly (21-0, 11 knockouts) is a formality and that underdog Coyne, who has been involved in just two 12-round contests – both at cruiserweight – before now, does not warrant a title shot.

Coyne begs to differ as he made clear in an upbeat phone interview on Box Nation television. Indeed, the 30-year-old from St. Louis, claims Cleverly, THE RING’s No.3-rated light heavyweight, has been specifically targeted and that he even fought in Yorkshire, England, last month – stopping unknown Hungarian Peter Vecsei in round one – just to catch the eye of Cleverly’s advisors.

Well, having completed that part of the job, Coyne confidently predicts that he is ready to seize his unlikely moment in the spotlight and gate-crash the division’s elite.

“Obviously, I know quite a bit about him and he’s been on my radar for quite some time,” said Coyne (21-0, 9 KOs). “He’s a great fighter and a fantastic champion. I didn’t know exactly how a fight with Nathan would come to fruition but I always have my sights set on the champions and I knew it would be a fantastic fight between the two of us.

“I just didn’t know how it would happen or that we would be coming across the pond to LA. I was actually just in the United Kingdom, hoping to entice him into the ring. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

“I’m very excited about taking his WBO title on November 10. This is a fight I like. I favor the match up and it’s a fight I know I can win. No disrespect to Nathan, because he’s a great champion, but I know I have the ability to beat him.”

Coyne, known as the Irish Outlaw and trained by former heavyweight and light heavyweight titleholder Michael Moorer, is promising a cracking clash between two very different boxers.

“I’m coming to fight. There’s no point being in this game if you don’t show up to fight,” he said. “I’m not here for the pay day. Truth be told, the pay day is not that great. It’s not anything to shake a stick at. But I am here to win a title and if you’re not in it for that there’s no point being in boxing because the game is too dangerous.

“I will be working with Michael Moorer. He’s a great trainer and we have been together now for about three fights. Michael was the first southpaw heavyweight champion of the world, I am a southpaw and that helps me quite a bit to cater my style against opponents.

“But I also know that Nathan came up in the Joe Calzaghe gym and that he’s got a wealth of experience fighting southpaws. So, this is going to be a very tactical battle as well.

“Whoever can implement their style is going to win this fight and I am going to implement my style on November 10.”