22nd October 2012
Tommy Coyle believes in the old adage ‘if you fall off your bike, dust yourself down and jump straight back on’. Just weeks after enduring his first loss, Coyle, 23, steps into the biggest fight of his career at Hull’s City Hall on November 2, when he battles Antonio Joao Bento for the WBC International Silver lightweight title – and a potential ticket into the world top 20 rankings.
In a close bout in early October, Hull’s Tommy came unstuck against fellow Yorkshireman, and former British super-featherweight champion, Gary Sykes in the quarter-final stages of the Prizefighter Tournament. Now, against Bento, on the ‘City Hall Showdown 4’ card, Coyle is looking forward to getting back in the ring and erasing the memory of that Sykes setback.
“I didn’t box like I can and there were a few health issues in the build-up,” recalled Tommy. “My team wanted me to pull out but I didn’t want to. Gary definitely won the first round, the second was even, and if the third had been ten more seconds I’d have knocked him out because he had nothing left. I’m not arguing with the decision though, it could have gone either way.
“This WBC title fight couldn’t have come at a better time for me really. Coming off the loss to Sykes it gives me the chance to get back on my horse, crack the whip and get back to winning ways. So it’s come at a very good time; it’s a great opportunity.”
Bento, a former WBA and IBF Inter-Continental super-featherweight champion, will enter the contest by far the more experienced man. A pro since 1999, the Portuguese veteran, 36, has fought around Europe and won’t be fazed fighting in Coyle’s backyard. Having only lost nine of 35 fights, with 12 wins coming early, Bento will be confident of causing an upset and Tommy knows if he is to chalk up another notch in the win column he will need to be firing on all cylinders.
“He’s boxed in fantastic company and has only been beaten by the best on the European scene. My manager Steve Wood said ‘it’s a great fight for you to get back in the mix but you’re going to have to be at your very best to beat this kid’. We’ve checked him out and he looks like he can punch a bit. He forces the pace, puts the pressure on, and this guy’s coming to win.”
Never one to look past an opponent, 14-bout Coyle is fully focused on the job in hand. Not a fighter to make brash predictions, Tommy is content knowing that he will enter the ring against Bento having given everything in training. If he does win, though, a future foe could be the local rival he has been engaged in a Twitter war with in the build up to this fight – Driffield’s Curtis Woodhouse.
“I want to fight him; I’d take the fight tomorrow. We’re from the same area, and don’t particularly like each other. He gave up professional football to box and I respect that because there’s a lot more money in football, but I think he’s too tough for his own good and I’d give him a boxing lesson.”
In what promises to be a terrific night for Hull fight fans, Coyle versus Bento headlines an undercard that won’t fail to keep the crowd entertained before the main event. Appearing will be Accrington’s British Masters light-heavyweight champion Luke Blackledge; Grimsby’s former British flyweight title challenger Wayne Bloy; Middleton’s undefeated 4-0 prospect Liam Taylor; Lancashire’s Isaac Lowe – who has his second bout after an exciting KO victory on his debut, while Hull’s Danny Little and Tony Knight will both make their debuts.
‘City Hall Showdown 4’ will take place at Hull’s City Hall on November 2. Tickets, priced at £20 (Gallery), £30 (General), £45 (Stage/VIP), £60 (Ringside/VIP) are available from the boxers direct, The Hull City Hall Box Office, The Stevie Smith Boxing Academy, or online at: www.steviesmithboxing.com and www.vipbe.co.uk