Luke Campbell MBE and Tommy Coyle have reflected on their bitter exchange of words at yesterday’s press conference in Hull ahead of their official eliminator for the WBC Word Lightweight title at the KC Lightstream Stadium in Hull on August 1, live on Sky Sports.
The Hull pair have been on a collision course for over a year and Campbell drew first blood in a simmering war of words between the pair in an interview published in Boxing Monthly that Coyle was quick to address in the public press conference at the Hull City Hall – and believes the fight has come too soon for Campbell.
“I was annoyed that he called me an associate, I think that was personal,” said Coyle. “He forgets the days when we didn’t have any money at all and we were selling toys for a pound a go, I travelled five hours to watch him in the ABA finals, shared a room with him in Australia – I think that’s a bit more than an associate.
“It had been playing on my mind. He’s said a few things in the press and even in the press conference, it’s disappointing and I think it’s unnecessary. The fight doesn’t need bad blood, it would sell on two Hull lads that are mates getting in there and the best man winning a tear-up.
“We have been friendly in the post-fight interviews up to this point so why has it changed? Is it because I said I was going to knock him out? I am not going to outbox him am. I am just being truthful. It’s business. I think that this is the wrong fight for him at the wrong time, I’ll be too much for him.
“I think Luke is being chucked in at the deep-end against me. I was terrible against Gethin, I think I had one eye on fighting Luke because the talk was all about getting past Gethin to face Luke, which is my golden ticket. My concentration slipped, I over-looked Martin and I was very lucky. I got hit with a serious shot and I was basically concussed during the rest of the fight. But I came through it and I’ve come through deep waters to win before, Luke hasn’t and I think that will be the difference and it’s why I have the edge in this one.”
Campbell said that he wasn’t listening to Coyle during the press conference and is choosing to focus on the bigger picture. For the 27 year old, the fight is the perfect opportunity to prove he is ready to step-up in his 12th pro fight and close in on joining James DeGale MBE as British Olympic gold medallists winning World titles.
“It’s very exciting,” said Campbell. “People keep saying I need to step up – you don’t get a better step-up than a World title eliminator, my team sees me day-in day-out and I am making great progress. They evaluate each fight and we believe in each other and if that is the path that they have chosen then that’s the right path for me.
“I have never had it easy in boxing in 14 and a half years. I’ve always done it the hard way and I believe that WBC champion Jorge Linares is the best Lightweight in the world, so it’s not the easiest route, but we’re not bothered about that, we want to take the right route and take on the best.
“This is a massive event for the city – it’s a one-time thing, I don’t think they’ll see a fight like this here again. Two local lads with good followings, both top fighters and boxing in a World title eliminator, the city won’t see this again – that’s what makes it special for Hull.
“But I am getting messages from fan across Britain that say they are excited about the fight so it’s great for the city but it’s a fight that is going to capture the imagination, it’s a mega-fight and it’s going to be a great occasion. the build-up is going to be something else that i will experience for the first time, I hope that there will be 20,000 in there and the more the merrier, I’ll buzz off that and I know I will rise to the occasion.
“I didn’t really listen to him to be honest. He will do what he believes he needs to do to win but I don’t think there is any way he can knock me out. That’s my opinion.
“I have had a close-knit group of friends since I was a kid, they are my friends. I see Tommy once in a blue moon, that’s it. We have a past, we’ve boxed in the same gym, travelled to Australia and Denmark before, but we hang around in different circles though and really, who cares?
“If he has a problem he should ring me instead of trying to get sympathy votes. It’s not like he comes round to my house for a cup of tea and we got out and socialise, we’re not proper mates. I respect everything he has done in boxing and he’s a great fighter. I don’t dislike Tommy at all, we just see friends differently.”
Campbell and Coyle’s clash is part of a massive night of action in Hull, with former World title challenger Brian Rose looking for revenge in his rematch with Carson Jones, former two-weight World champion Ricky Burns back in action after his heroic performance in Texas against Omar Figueroa and Martin J. Ward defending his WBC International Super Featherweight title.
Tickets are on sale now to Matchroom Fight Pass members now priced at £25 (Standing), £40 (Tiered), £60 (Floor) and £100 (Floor) available at www.matchroomboxing.com – VIP tickets have sold-out.
Tickets go on general sale at 10am tomorrow (Saturday June 13) available from www.hullkr.co.uk/tickets