Danny Flexen looks back on 5 incredible nights involving Tommy Coyle, who retired this week
Entertaining Hull light and super-lightweight boxer Tommy Coyle, also a local hero, businessman and philanthropist, retired from the sport this week, aged just 30.
Coyle enjoyed just a decade as a pro, but left quite the impression as a blood-and-guts warrior and relatable everyman. Here is my pick of his most memorable nights.
5. W rsf 2 Michael Katsidis
Oct 25, 2014, Hull
The Austalian may not have been the force of old but still possessed spirit and guts in abundance. A warrior to the last, Katsidis flew out of the blocks at the Ice Arena and managed to get some early success in the opening round. Coyle quickly regained his composure and, by clocking the man from Toowoomba with a potent left hook off the backfoot, did to Katsidis as Mathews had once done to him.
4. L rsf 10 Derry Mathews
July 13, 2013, Liverpool
Coyle was 15-1 going into this clash at Craven Park, the only defeat to Gary Sykes over the Prizefighter three-round format. For almost 10 rounds, in a battle for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight belt, Tommy had never looked so good. Producing a remarkable display of intelligent box-fighting, Coyle seemed miles ahead. Wily puncher Mathews never lost hope, however, and found one of the best shots of his career, a monster left hook to end Coyle’s challenge with the finishing line in sight.
3. W rsf 6 Sean Dodd
April 21, 2018, Liverpool
Coyle, for all his undeniable prowess as an entertainer and altruist, was desperate to capture a major domestic title. In his way, at the third time of asking, was Sean Dodd, a Birkinhead mauler who had, like Tommy, risen from unfancied beginnings to achieve cult hero status. On the night at the Echo Arena, home territory for his opponent, Coyle proved too big, strong and insistent. He decked Dodd twice, triumphing in the sixth. It was probably the most complete performance of his career and victory brought the Commonwealth strap cruelly denied him against Mathews.
2. W rsf 12 Daniel Brizuela
Feb 22, 2014, Hull
The most exciting fight of Coyle’s career and of the modern era in Britain, this back-and-forth war almost defies description. The aggressive pair shared a startling eight (EIGHT) knockdowns, four apiece, although tellingly three of those suffered by Coyle came in the first six rounds, while all the Argentine’s trips to the canvas were in the barnstormer’s second half. Showing the grit and determination with which he would become synonymous, Coyle ultimately got rid of his nemesis in the 12th and final session at the Ice Arena.
1. L rsf 10 Luke Campbell
August 1, 2015, Hull
Former friends turned rivals, the two men from Hull combined to attract 15,000 fans to Craven Park. The city’s Olympic gold medallist taking on its humble hero, stylist against aggressor, was always going to sell, but the pair enhanced the fight’s appeal with some spicy press conference exchanges. In the ring, despite Coyle’s usual valiant effort, things were more one-sided. Tommy was dropped early then three times in the 10th to force the finish, but not before giving his home fans an enthralling contest.