Last month Johnny Coyle defeated Nelson Altamirano to win the sixteenth professional fight of his career, and remain undefeated through 17 bouts (he is 16-0-1, with two KOs). Following the win, the majority agree that is now time for Coyle to step up in his career, and we can see just how far the young man from Essex can go.

The 23-year-old first started boxing at a young age, simply following the example that had been set to him by older siblings. “As a travelling boy I grew up on a site where all my cousins and brothers boxed so I just did the same thing, that’s what got me in the gym,” he explained when speaking to Britishboxers.

Unlike many other members of the travelling community, Coyle has continued boxing through to the professional ranks, but before his turnover to the paid level, he had a fifty fight amateur career—a final record of 43 wins, and 7 losses. Reflecting on his experience as an amateur, he told how he “Won a few national titles and a few gold medals for England,” but still believes his style is better suited to the pro-game.

Clearly no fighter enjoys losing, but Coyle reminisced about how he nearly didn’t turn over as a professional. Following a loss in his final amateur contest, he contemplated hanging his gloves up for good.

“I fell out of love with the game,” he said. “I wasn’t doing things right back then, I would drink a week or two before my fight and I was boxing at about a stone heavier than I am now. I was slacking off a bit, and I don’t like losing so I just thought I couldn’t be dealing with it.”

He added: “I had a few months off after the loss and I just realised that I’ve put a lot into the game, and I thought it would be nice to get something back out of it, so I started doing things right and just told myself that I could go somewhere.”

Now three years into life as a professional prize fighter, the Essex man is able to reflect on things so far. “I’m pleased with how it’s gone yeah, I’m 17 unbeaten, Southern Area Champion, Prizefighter Champion. I just feel like now is the right time for me to push on and get some more titles around my waist. I feel like I’ve been messed about a bit, and avoided at times, but after Christmas I think it’ll be the start of a big year for me.”

Coyle did well to remain grounded following some wins early on in his career. Following on from his Prizefighter win back in 2014 (overcoming Jason Cook, Sam Eggington and Paddy Gallagher), he told of the pressure he received to go straight for the British title.

“When I turned pro I was 20, then I won the Prizefighter and suddenly everyone was saying I should go for the British title. What they didn’t realise is that I was still a novice, and Prizefigher is only three rounds, so how could I be ready for that level straight away? I didn’t even try to talk myself into it as I knew I wasn’t ready,” he said, before insisting “Now I’m ready”.

Regarding plans for 2017, Johnny will remain working closely with his management team MGM, and says that winning the British title in 2017 is a priority. MGM have worked closely with Frank Warren in recent times and with Queensberry Promotions now working with Super-Lightweight British champion Tyrone Nurse, and British Welterweight champion Bradley Skeete, it’s likely that he may well get a shot sometime next year.

As he quite rightly stated, with the new BT deal in place, there’s going to be more pressure for titles to be on the line regularly as opposed to near full cards of prospects bowling over journeyman, and why not give the chance to a young fighter who is seemingly now ready to step up to more meaningful fights.