RYAN COYNE PREPARING TO FACE MARCUS OLIVEIRA THIS WEEKEND
By Doveed Linder
Light heavyweight Ryan Coyne (21-0, 9 KOs) is preparing for an April 12th fight with Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 KOs) at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. Coyne-Oliveira is an eliminator for the WBA #1 ranking, with the WBA light heavyweight title currently held by Beibut Shumenov. Coyne was scheduled to fight Nathan Cleverly for the WBO version of the 175-pound championship in 2012, but Coyne withdrew from the bout due to a contractual dispute with Don King. Coyne spoke with Boxingtalk about his upcoming fight and his background in boxing.
DL: When did you first put on the gloves? How old were you and what were the circumstances?
RC: I got into boxing late. I messed around with it when I was younger, but I never did it in an organized setting. I always had gloves around, I always had them on, but I wasnít competing in a ring. I was doing my competing in the streets. I was focused on football and things like that. When my football career in college ended, I got into boxing part time, then more than part time, and then full time. I graduated with a degree in political science and I played a couple years of football at Mizzou. I got banged up with injuries and I wanted something else to do, so I started fighting in the Golden Gloves tournaments. Before I knew it, I was getting offered fights all the time. I racked up 60 plus fights and I won three Golden Gloves titles. When I was getting ready to graduate and go into the real world, I had an opportunity to go pro. I never thought I was going to go pro. I just thought I was going to box through college and that was it. But I found that the harder I worked, the better I did. And I liked that. So even though I had good grades and a college degree, I decided to become a professional boxer.
DL: What led to your decision to turn professional?
RC: Timing is everything. In life, certain opportunities come your way and if you donít take them, they may never come again. I knew in boxing that it was now or never. I had the opportunity to be a professional boxer and I ran with it. After I turned pro, I had an opportunity to be on The Contender [a boxing reality show]. That was real big for me. It gave me a chance to get some world wide exposure and compete at a high level. After I was on The Contender, I couldnít walk into a boxing gym anywhere without someone recognizing me. That was a great thing. From there, Don King signed me, which has been problematic as of late. But it wasnít always that way. I got some good fights and worked my way into the ratings and started traveling around and going into camps with some of the best fighters in the world. Iíve been itching and scratching to get into some big fights. I had a couple of world title shots fall through. It had nothing to do with me. One was due to an injury, the other with a contractual dispute. Iím stepping into a big fight now. Itís not a title shot, but itís an eliminator. Itís going to get me to the doorstep and Iím going to walk through the door later this year when we get the title shot.
DL: What do you know about your opponent on April 12th?
RC: Marcus Oliveira is a tough fighter. Heís a very skilled, athletic fighter. He has a glossy record. Itís a Midwest record, but he can fight. Heís very strong. Heís a big puncher. Just because you havenít seen him fight on TV, thatís not his fault. That doesnít mean he canít fight. Heís the guy I have to beat to get to where I want to go. I train harder than him. Iím sure he trains hard too, but Iíve done everything Iím supposed to do. This fight is an eliminator for the #1 spot. Beibut Shumenov has the title. Heís on my mind, but I have that tucked away in a pantry. Marcus Oliveira has my full attention. I have to beat him in impressive fashion this Friday.
DL: Anything in closing?
RC: These past seven, eight months in my life and career in the realm of boxing, have not been up and down, theyíve been all down between legal and political battles [including a lawsuit against King]. Itís been really tough. But I get to get in the ring Friday night and thatís the one place where these things canít touch me. Iím looking forward to getting back to business and to start making headlines for the right reasons.
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