The eagerly anticipated professional debut of Hull’s Connor Coghill has been postponed after his opponent failed to show up.
The fight, scheduled for Friday 2nd March at Leeds United’s Banqueting Suite at Elland Road, had already seen multiple opponent cancellations in the weeks prior. However, it was only after Team Connor had arrived at the venue that they discovered that his latest replacement opponent had not turned up due to unforeseen circumstances. Whilst this was probably the most frustrating event of an arguably frustrating few weeks, it wasn’t all bad as the 100+ travelling fans still got to see Connor in action.
Another young boxer, Kyle Skully of Halifax, was also scheduled to make his professional debut on the card but unfortunately suffered the same bad luck as Connor – another opponent no-show. Thankfully for the travelling fans, despite the late notice and a difference in weight between the two fighters, both men agreed to box each other in a 4-round exhibition bout.
Whilst nobody could have blamed Connor for not fighting at all, the fact that he chose to step in the ring at a disadvantage against a naturally heavier opponent is a testament to his character. Furthermore, an equally refreshing scene saw him come over after the bout to personally thank the fans for coming, another example of his appreciation to the paying spectators.
In terms of the performance itself, it must be said that it was an overall positive display from the Hull Southpaw. “I thought I boxed well considering the time out I’ve had and the weight advantage” he said. “I just took too long to start and felt I should have started a lot quicker because I felt great in the last two rounds”.
It was certainly evident that he grew stronger as the bout progressed, though having had the best part of 18 months out of the ring, it is hardly surprising that he took a few rounds to warm up.
The fight started relatively cagey, with both men exercising understandable caution. Skully was the busier in the first two rounds and found his opponent with a few decent shots, though Connor also enjoyed some success with his southpaw jab. As the fight moved into the third round, it was clear that Connor had shaken off some rust as he began to find his range and at times boxed brilliantly off the back-foot, evading his opponent’s shots with good lateral movement and firing back with some sharp counter-punches. By the end of the third round, it was apparent that Connor had settled into the bout as he demonstrated good footwork to stay out of trouble and began to mix his shots up a bit, introducing some straights to the body and increasing the frequency of his counter right-hook.
With the fourth round underway, the heavier Skully appeared to be tiring whilst Connor seemed to be warming into the fight nicely and enjoying more success as the round progressed. Connor finished the stronger and looked as though he could have gone another few rounds as the fight ended.
Given that it was an exhibition fight of two different weights, neither man was declared the winner, but they were both applauded for their part in a solid four rounds of technical boxing. Despite the unfortunate events leading up to the fight resulting in both men having to delay their official debuts, from Connor’s perspective at least it could be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Not only was it an opportunity to shake off the inevitable ring-rust resulting from his extended time out of the ring in a competitive manner, but he now has four rounds in the bank against an opponent who is not only a few levels above anyone who should be in the ring with a debutant but was also naturally heavier.
The fact that he was up against it in more ways than one, yet still kept his composure and grew stronger as the fight progressed, makes it even more exciting to see him back in the ring in his natural weight category against an evenly matched opponent. “I think the weight I boxed at was too heavy for me as I weighed 9 stone 10, and usually I would be weighing 9 stone” he said. “Carrying the extra weight made me a bit sluggish to start”. Nevertheless, the fans got to see glimpses of what Connor has to offer and if this is how he performs when he’s coming back from an 18 month lay off straight into the professional format against a naturally heavier opponent, imagine what is yet to come.
Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too long before we get to find out as he is looking to be back in the ring, this time for his official debut, in around 6 weeks’ time. The fight date and venue will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Until then, keep reading for the latest updates from Team Connor.