“I’m gutted. I genuinely thought I had enough to upset the odds tonight but credit where credit is due, Luke Campbell is a special, special talent and as I said, he will go on to become world champion.”
Tommy Coyle was as humble as ever when speaking to iFL TV after the ‘Rumble on the Humber’ last night. He had just been conclusively undone by his fellow townsman Luke Campbell in 10 rounds for the entertainment of a veracious Hull crowd but remained composed as he relived the fight.
Campbell was heavily favoured going into this one but Coyle felt he would be able to derive something novel from his more extensive professional campaign to turn the tide in his favour.
However, it became obvious early on this would be a very difficult task as the southpaw Campbell immediately established his punching distance and got to work, ready for the onrushing Coyle and punishing him with sharp counters at every opportunity.
Coyle went down for the first time in the second round as he bundled Campbell into the corner in an attempt to ruffle his feathers, to make him uncomfortable. But the Olympic Gold medalist sunk in a left hand uppercut beneath Coyle’s right rib in close quarters to sink him to the canvas in clear pain.
Coyle gamely rose to his feet and beckoned Campbell back into the fray with an apparent disregard for his own well-being and bravely battled on for the remainder of the session.
For the next eight rounds, Coyle pushed forward, launching the odd blistering right hand that seemed to skim past Campbell by inches every time but never landed. He got home a few jabs and a some decent left hooks to the body, but his successes were sparse in comparison to his opponent.
Campbell could have easily been affected on an occasion like this; faced with an experienced foe who keeps coming in his first high-stakes outing as a professional. He couldn’t have looked more at home if he fought in his slippers and sipped hot chocolate between rounds.
He picked his shots and remained unflustered even when Coyle ran at him with a bowed brow looking to cause some illegal damage. His fitness held up, and his pace never dropped despite this being his first time past the eight-round mark in a high-paced fight.
When the time came to drop the guillotine in the 10th round, he was absolutely ruthless; cornering Coyle three times, and bludgeoning him to the ground with head and body shots. The referee could not let the bout go on despite Coyle’s stubbornness in continuing to get up after each fall.
With a few swells and grazes on his brave face, Coyle gave us his assessment on how the man overcame him.
“He’s not a concussive puncher, it’s more the accumulation, it’s more the speed, it’s more the accuracy. You know, it’s little half-steps, it’s distance, it’s range.”
In short, all of the traits one would hone throughout a long and accomplished amateur career.
“He’s a great all-round fighter. He’s a chess fighter; he’s a very smart, intelligent fighter, and he was just better than me in every department tonight.”
“It’s hard because there is a lot of bragging rights and I’ve gotta walk down the street but I did my best tonight. I genuinely, I would have died in that ring tonight that’s my mentality. I would have gone to the end but the referee is the gaffer, he’s in charge and he felt it was fair to stop me. But I’ll never quit, ever, ever.”
Praise Odin for the referee’s presence then, because those who witnessed the fight will know that is no idle claim.
Despite his third loss in 24 fights, Coyle still has options. The lightweight division in the UK is looking bounteous these days with Ricky Burns back down to 135 lbs. as well as British champion Scott Cardle and both are contracted to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport.
There are more fighters who ply their trade across the road for Frank Warren but cross-promotional matches remain a grey area.
Campbell now looks set to step up a level. His 10th KO win in 12 uninterrupted wins since his debut have elevated him above the domestic scene, but despite the ‘Rumble’ being billed as a world title eliminator all the talk on the Sky Sports broadcast seemed to indicate him going for Cardle’s British belt.
For me, he is more than able to take on the likes of Anthony Crolla, who was ringside for this fight.
Crolla will be world champion soon enough if he can put in a repeat performance when he rematches WBA champion, Darleys Perez. He was robbed in a draw result in the first fight a few weeks ago and the return has been ordered immediately.
If Crolla returns with the belt, Campbell could well be in line to join the likes of Guillermo Rigondeux and Vasyl Lomachenko as Olympic stars who gained world honours before their 15th pro fight.