Cannon Fodder or Banana Skins?

Michael Katsidis and Daniel Brizuela both represent the final obstacles standing in the way of promoter Eddie Hearn’s grand plan of Tommy Coyle vs. Luke Campbell outdoors in their home city of Hull next spring or summer.

The local lightweight showdown has been on the cards ever since both men were added to Matchroom’s bulging stable last year. Coyle (19-2, 8 KOs), managed by Steve Wood and trained by former British light-middleweight champion Jamie Moore, is fast becoming known as a crowd pleasing, all-action fighter who sells tickets just as easy as he used to sell fruit and vegetables on his Dad’s market stall. Way back when, Tommy was still watching his opponent for tonight.

Campbell is the golden boy, the chosen one, a housewives’ favourite whose youthful looks make a mockery of his 27 years of age. The 2012 Olympic gold medallist isn’t just a boy band lookalike. The kid can fight, make no mistake. His (8-0, 6 KOs) record won’t get most people’s attention but the majority of his performances have convinced Hearn to throw him in tonight on Sky Sports with a man, Brizuela, who is no stranger to British fight fans.

It was only February this year when the 28-year-old Argentinian and Coyle decided to have a best of nine knockdown fest that ended with the score being 4-4 but more importantly had Coyle with his hand raised at the end. A bonkers night of action that ended with just over a minute to go in the final round. Sighs of relief everywhere from Hull to Matchroom HQ.

Coyle, at just 25, has had enough battle scars to last him a lifetime thanks to Brizuela and the howitzer KO from Derry Mathews that ended near-on ten rounds of perfection from Coyle back in 2012. Will he have more lumps and bumps courtesy of Michael Katsidis?

Coyle and Katsidis,
Coyle and Katsidis,

The 34-year-old Australian is known as a relentless, never say die, frontline punching solider that has given his all over the years but has often fallen short at the highest level. After a failed physical examination and CAT scan (which showed scarring on his brain ahead of a proposed bout against Weng Haya) in Feb 2013 the crowd favourite has since fought Eddy Comaro and Graham Earl (in a rematch that should never happened from a 2007 classic).

“Boxing is my life, it’s everything to me,” says Katsidis. The words of a man who cannot kick the addiction of the fighting life.

Word round the campfire is that the veteran has looked sharp, spiteful and something of his old self in sparring. Granted these have been stories from X, Y and Z. And sparring tales and a pinch of salt are a marriage made in heaven.

Coyle v Katsidis then. What say you? I say that for four to six rounds the latter makes it a competitive fight and will undoubtedly be targeting the Brit’s body which appeared to be a weak link against Brizuela. Katsisdis may have seen better days but the power, allegedly, never goes. If Coyle, and this could be critical, listens to the advice of his trainer and isn’t just there to add more minutes to his highlight reel, then he can make it a comfortable night’s work – perhaps en route to a compassionate referee’s stoppage in round eight. I say this but Coyle has talked often of “war.” Katsidis is a war veteran who still has the ammunition to worry a fighter of Coyle’s ilk but possesses weapons that will run empty well before 12 rounds are up.

Campbell v Brizuela then. What say you? I say good match-making first of all. Without question, for his ninth fight this is a significant step up for Campbell. Brizuela isn’t your stereotypical South American that has more brawn than brains and knows of lines that are only straight. As he showed against Coyle, he can box, mix it up and have a gunfight. But size matters here. A good big lightweight (Campbell) beats a decent small lightweight (Brizuela). Campbell TKO 6 with his opponent succumbing to body shots.

Does Campbell have to look the goods in beating his opponent? Possibly. Coyle is on record as saying that he believes his friend and stablemate will make an easier nights work of Brizuela than he did. In fairness, Tommy, you had one of those fights that don’t come along very often, but you’re probably right. – Shaun Brown

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