Luke Campbell MBE and Tommy Coyle set up an intriguing all-Hull lightweight clash on Friday night at the city's Ice Arena, by scoring impressive knockout wins over Daniel Eduardo Brizuela and Michael Katsidis respectively.
Campbell was utterly dominant from the outset in his maiden 10-round contest against the Argentinian contender who took Coyle to hell and back in February. The reigning Olympic champion controlled the distance and pace of the action with his long, accurate straight punches and balletic footwork.
Every time the brave visitor attempted to up the ante, he was greeted with a ramrod jab and booming left hand. On the few occasions that Brizuela did manage to land with solid blows, the stylish hometown hero retaliated with menace and stunned the onrushing former IBO world title challenger.
The battering continued into the fifth round, when Campbell managed to deck Brizuela with a flurry of punches, before going onto force the stoppage shortly after.
For a nine fight professional novice (9-0, 7KO's), 'Cool Hand Luke' demonstrated excellent poise, timing and ring generalship throughout, and never looked troubled at any time during the contest.
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The always exciting Coyle faced the toughest test of his career - on paper anyway. Katsidis has been there and done it, he has faced some of the very best of his generation and he was once considered the danger man of the lightweight division.
Times change, though, as do circumstances. And the 34-year-old simply isn't the same man who destroyed Kevin Mitchell at Upton Park in 2010. A two year break between 2012 and 2014, along with reports of brain damage cast a cloud over this bout from the moment of announcement.
Coyle (20-2, 9KOs) turned up in superb condition, as did the Australian, but it was 'Boom Boom' who brought timing with him. Katsidis tried and tried to make an impression from the first bell, but there was no snap in his work and his movement looked somewhat limited - clumsy even.
Coyle implemented a throw and move strategy, offsetting the struggling and past his best Katsidis. A swinging left hook halfway through the second round poleaxed Katsidis and immediately put an end to the sorry spectacle.
The Hull crowd went wild as Coyle, Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis celebrated their successful evening at the office.
Campbell and Coyle are now expected to meet in a blockbuster battle at the KC Stadium in the summer of 2015. The former will likely enter the ring as the bookmakers favourite, and rightly so. Nevertheless, Coyle is a gritty and gutsy character who will never stop trying until he can no longer stand or until the final bell sounds.
Earlier in the evening, Gavin McDonnell boxed his way to a 12-round unanimous decision over three time world title challenger, Vusi Malinga, to lift the WBO International super bantamweight title.
A confident and comfortable first six rounds saw McDonnell, twin brother of Jamie, streak ahead on the scorecards, and a dazzling right hand to the jaw in the eighth round forced the South African veteran to touch down.
With blood pouring from his nose and fatigue seemingly setting in, McDonnell showed courage and ring smarts in fending off a late rally from Malinga. The gangly Doncaster man was a deserving decision winner (116-111, 116-111 and 115-112) and is likely to go on and challenge for the European title, which was recently vacated by Kid Galahad.
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