The west of Ireland is gearing itself up for further boxing success next month when Mayo's own Henry ‘The Western Warrior’ Coyle takes on Italy's Elio Cotena for the WBF Light Middleweight title at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar on Friday August 12.
The west has most definitely been awake where the "sweet science" is concerned recently with Mayo having enjoyed huge success in the amateur ranks. Islandeady native Ray Moylette won gold at the European seniors in Turkey last month to add to the World Junior title he won in Mexico in 2008. That followed on from Katie Rowland's bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in April with the Geesala club woman adding to the silver she won at last year’s European Juniors.
While both Moylette and Rowland will have next year’s London Olympics in their sights, their professional counterpart Henry Coyle's sole focus is on next month's clash with Cotena as he bids to lift the WBF title. One man looking forward to the event is another Mayo man, Michael Ring, the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“Mayo's boxers are really flying the flag for Irish boxing on the international stage right now so I'm delighted to see a big event like this coming to Mayo,” said the Westport native. “It will bring a huge number of people to the area and it promises to be a great sporting event, and you couldn't get a better venue for it than the Royal Theatre. Boxing has always delivered some of our greatest sporting moments and it has always had a proud tradition in Mayo, but the success that our boxers have enjoyed lately is unprecedented and hopefully that run can continue in Castlebar next month.”
Coyle is managed by his father Gerry and brother Alan and both are confident that Henry can bring the WBF title and even greater honours back to Mayo. “When you look at the calibre of competition Henry came up against in the amateurs and the guys he has sparred since turning pro I have no doubt that he can compete with the best,” said Coyle senior. “As a pro he's sparred the likes of Carl Froch and Matthew Macklin along with the best in the States, and as an amateur he fought the likes of Jean Pascal, Andre Berto, Anthony Dirrell, John Duddy and James Moore, while he beat the two time Thai Olympian Manon Boonjumnong to win the World Military Championships.
“The pro game is a hard one and nothing comes easy in it but Henry is training very hard for this fight and with the atmosphere that a full house at the Royal Theatre will generate he will be a very hard man to beat. We have a lot of respect for Cotena, he will want to bring the WBF title back to Italy but Henry will have a lot to say about that.”
The chief support bout on next month’s card will feature Dublin's undefeated Patrick ‘The Punisher’ Hyland. The Tallaght featherweight holds the longest unbeaten record in Irish boxing with 23 straight wins in the pro ranks. His younger brother and former European title challenger Paul Hyland also features while Westport's unbeaten Finbarr ‘The Rock’ Eade faces his biggest challenge to date when he takes on southpaw Mickey Coveney for the Irish Super Featherweight title.
An intriguing all Mayo battle on the undercard will see former Irish light heavyweight champ, John ‘The Warrior’ Waldron taking on Michael ‘The Storm’ Sweeney, while another all Irish affair will see Roscommon's Darren Cruise look to extend his unbeaten record against Leeds based Belfast southpaw Lee Murtagh.
Tickets for next months event priced from €30, €40, €70 and €100 are on sale from the Royal Theatre Box Office on 0818 719 300, Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and the boxers on the bill.