Coyle, Campbell win separate bouts in Hull to set up huge summer fight
British lightweight contender Tommy Coyle survived a scare to force an unsatisfactory fifth round corner retirement from countryman Martin Gethin in Hull, England, on Saturday, but plans for a summer collision with local rival, and London 2012 Olympic champion Luke Campbell remain intact.
Coyle (20-2, 10 knockouts) was decked heavily by a left hook in the second and a follow up attack left him woozy. The game 25 year old managed to box his way back into what was becoming an intriguing and competitive contest but an old ear drum injury forced Gethin out at the end of the fifth.
“I’m sorry this was a short night and not the kind of twelve round war that I love,” Coyle said when interviewed by Sky Sports. “I love fighting and I love being in the ring but now I can look forward to facing Luke (Campbell) in the summer. Everyone wants to see this one.”
Coyle boxed effectively behind his left hand in Round 1 whereas Gethin, a former British lightweight champion, did little if anything. Suddenly, in the second, a jolting left hook sent the home fighter crashing into the ropes and the pro Coyle crowd was reduced to a whimper.
Gethin followed up well in the third but Coyle was busier and used the session to clear his head and regain his poise. For the remainder of the fight, Gethin appeared flat and Coyle, although far from comfortable himself, boxed off his man and picked up points.
The sudden ending was anti-climactic and there was a sprinkling of booing from the home support who had expected fireworks.
Coyle (21-2, 10 knockouts) has established himself as a one man highlight reel in the UK. In February of last year he overcame four knockdowns to stop rugged Argentinian Daniel Eduardo Brizuela in the twelfth round of a breathtaking fight and, in his most recent outing, scorched faded Australian warhorse Michael Katsidis with a single left hook in Round 2.
On form Coyle is one very exciting and determined fighter but tonight he was deprived of the opportunity to show his wares.
There were less surprises in the lightweight co-feature which saw Luke Campbell fulfil his part of the deal by dominating late replacement Levis Morales on route to a convincing third round technical knockout.
Campbell (10-0, 8 knockouts) floored the Nicaraguan with a sharp left hand late in Round 2 and the minutes rest did Morales no favors. The visitor was trapped in his opponent’s corner early in the third before another thumping burst sent him down again, and the referee’s intervention was timely.
“I want to make history in Hull (against Tommy Coyle) and sell out a 20,000 seat arena,” said the quick fisted southpaw. “The people really want to see this fight and it’ll be great for the city and British boxing in general.”
As expected, Campbell was streets ahead of Morales and fired at will against what he knew was an inferior opponent. With that said the Englishman’s very appearance on this show was an achievement in itself due to his father’s grueling and well documented battle with cancer.
The amiable 27 year old is extremely close to his family and initially withdrew due to the enormous pressure he was under. Encouraged by those closest to him, and with his father’s blessing, Campbell put in some strong gym time and should be commended for his strength of character under extremely difficult circumstances.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing