Craven Park might be more used to rugby league players showcasing their skills on its hallowed turf, however the headline act this coming Saturday night(August 1st) is a hotly anticipated boxing fight between two local heroes in the form of Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle. In one corner we have golden boy Campbell who won an Olympic Gold Medal for his outstanding boxing exploits in the recent London Games. In the other corner there is wheeler dealer, former market trader Coyle. Both are working class kids done good from boxing and when they meet it is promises to be a perfect clash of differing styles.
Since turning professional Campbell has a trouble free career thus far. His career unfortunately has been a bit stop-start due to his Father being seriously ill. However, he has looked many levels above the opponents he has faced up to now. He has been too quick, too technical and too powerful for them all. Nowhere was this better illustrated in his demolishing of Argentinian hard nut Daniel Brizuela. This coming after Brizuela nearly beat Coyle in a barnstormer of a fight some months previously(Brizuela floored Coyle several times). Coyle is definitely a good fight for Campbell because it is without doubt his toughest test to date in the pro-ranks. His level of opponents needed stepping up. I now hope we will see his career gather some momentum.
Coyle on the other hand has had the more ‘eventful’ career passage so far…….TO SAY THE LEAST! I first remember talking note of Coyle when he fought Liverpool’s Derry Matthews in 2013, again this was on Sky Sports cameras at the Craven Park Stadium in Hull. Coyle will be hoping that lightening does not strike twice because after putting on a brilliant boxing display, Matthews against all the odds shocked the crowd by delivering a huge devastating knock-out blow.
His fight against Matthews epitomizes what Coyle is all about. When focused he can box great and not leave himself wide open to getting cleaned out on the counter. He put on such a brilliant display against former world champ Michael Katsidis, knocking him out in the second round. He is never going to be as skilled a boxer as Campbell but he is better than the average performances he delivered against Brizuela and Martin Gethin. Gethin not known as a big puncher brutally floored Coyle early on into their fight. In true warrior spirit Coyle got up and ended up winning the fight somehow(Gethin retired on his stool due an ear problem). There is no doubting the size of Coyle’s heart in the ring, however you do have to question his ability to stick to game plan. He has shown he can put the perfect fight together as I referenced in the Katsidis fight. Nevertheless, he has also shown his tactical boxing brain can go alarmingly elsewhere when in the heat of battle.
My prediction for this world title eliminator lightweight fight is that I see Campbell coming out a relatively easy, if not very easy winner. Coyle’s kamikaze style at times has been thrilling to watch but I just can not see him having enough to trouble Campbell with. Campbell is too skillful a boxer for Coyle in my view. I see Campbell as a future world champion one day whereas as I do not see Coyle ever reaching this level. I struggle to envisage Coyle ever progressing past domestic level. I think Campbell will be too quick for him and I can see him stopping Coyle by the 5th round, or at the very least winning by a landslide points win. For me, this is a stepping stone fight for Campbell, for bigger and tougher tests ahead.
PREDICTION – Campbell to win by TKO.
The other fight on the card that I want to discuss at some length is the one that is acting as chief support to the Campbell Coyle main event. This sees very the likable Blackpool boxer Brian Rose take on the very brash American, Carson Jones(at light-middleweight). This is a rematch of a fight that first happened in Brian’s hometown earlier this year. It was shrouded in controversy because the ‘infamous’ boxing referee Ian John Lewis, clearly stopped the fight too early in the favour of Jones. Jones for sure was pressuring Rose and he caught him with a few decent shots but in no way whatsoever did it deserve to be stopped when it was. Rose quite rightly was outraged afterwards. It was a big bitter pill to swallow for the Blackpool man who some months previously had been taught a tough boxing lesson at the hands of WBO Light middleweight champion, Demetrius Andrade.
With regards to their first fight, I clearly remember tweeting to people hours before it that I thought Carson could cause an upset here. I just had this feeling in my gut that Jones was a bad match-up for Rose. Jones delivered a great performance against Kell Brook in their first encounter and so I thought if that Jones turns up, then Rose could be in a whole heap of trouble. I then read others say that Carson was over-the-hill and his last performance before this fight was poor. I hoped they were right because as I say I saw it as a banana skin of a fight, and sadly I was proved to be right(from a British fight fan perspective).
The stakes do not get much higher for Rose in this rematch. He just cannot afford to get beat, otherwise I am not sure where his career is headed. If he loses he is not fighting for a world title again anytime soon that much is clear to everybody. He will be back down to domestic level and his career at a major crossroads. However, if he wins we can all put that last result down to bad referring and aim for bigger and better assignments ahead. Incidentally, before I forget I must just briefly comment on referee Ian John Lewis. I really think he is a poor referee. He jumps in far too quickly, gets involved when he does not need too, and he is too hesitant to be a good boxing referee in my opinion. Such an view of him was compounded when he made a shocking error/s in the recent Rocky Fielding vs Brian Vera fight. He makes Howard Foster(the infamous Froch vs Groves I ref) look like a superb official.
I think this fight is a real fifty-fifty fight. I can easily envisage either fighter winning for different reasons. Rose will be super motivated to win this for the reasons I have just outlined, so I am sure he will have left no stone unturned in his recent training camp. I could see him edging a close points decision. I also wonder if Jones might come into this fight taking Rose too lightly, given what happened in their first encounter.
Nevertheless, if you really had to push hard me for a prediction then I have this nasty feeling that Jones is going to win again. My heart says Rose but my head JUST says Jones. I think Brian comes across like a lovely bloke and as a fellow Lancastrian I will be cheering him on, but if I am completely honest then I am just not sure how much I rate him as a fighter. The guy can clearly fight but he will always struggle at the very top level in my opinion due to a lack of punching power. Jones on the other hand can clearly whack a bit and I just fear he may catch Rose again, thus forcing another stoppage.
PREDICTION – JONES BY TKO.
On the undercard I expect another impressive win from young Martin J Ward. He faces Sergio Blanco for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It will also be interesting for me to see British heavyweight Dillian Whyte for the first time on the telly. He faces a guy I have never heard of in the form of Irineu Costa. Whyte is returning after being out for some time with an injury as well as having the recent ordeal of his trainer Chris Okoh being seriously injured in a hit-and-run car accident. It is being billed as a warm-up fight before he faces his fierce domestic rival, London Olympic Super-Heavyweight Gold Medalist Anthony Joshua. We need to see an encouraging performance from Whyte to help sell the Joshua fight when it happens before the end of the year.
It should all make for an interesting nights viewing. Granted, not a stellar line up like the amazing Manchester event was from two weeks ago(featuring Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla), nevertheless the fights here should definitely be an intriguing watch. I love chilling on a Saturday night in front of the box watching the boxing drama unfold. Coyle will give it every thing he has got and be at his COURAGEOUS best, that I have no doubts. I just see Campbell being too CAPABLE though….and I fully expect to see him CONQUER his old amateur team mate by the end of Saturday night!