Rising Manchester super-middle hope Dale Coyne claims that it’s not just his flame coloured mop that has brought comparisons with Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez.
‘Obviously there’s the red hair but since I was young people have commented that my style resembles his,’ says the 21 year old who shares ‘Canelo’s’ nickname and is also known as the ‘Ancoats Alvarez’.
‘I’ve been a huge fan from right back when I saw him fight Miguel Cotto’s brother (Jose). I’d have been 15 at the time. I’ve followed him closely ever since and always loved his style.
‘I showed in the amateurs that, like ‘Canelo’, I never shy away from a ‘tear up’ and some of my best work is done on the inside. But I view myself more as a nice boxer, a thinker, quite well rounded. I aim to bring educated action!’
Formerly a junior national novice finalist, Man United fan Dale joined the pros as a teenager back in May 2014. However, medical issues and work commitments have restricted the Steve Maylett coached starlet to just two gigs (both wins).
‘At 18, Steve offered to take me professional but insisted I spend six months sparring pros whilst I adjusted,’ says dashing Dale, youngest of three brothers, who is managed by Manchester fight face Steve Wood.
‘I made my debut when I was just 19 (May 2014) but, being honest, I underestimated the game back then. Professional boxing takes over your life but, back then, I worked 12 hour days. I was in the demolition game….still am, I suppose!’
Having blitzed Worthing southpaw James Child inside the opening round of his paid bow, the Manc tyro was dormant for 17 months before resurfacing to shutout decent Hull light-heavy Luke Allon over four in October. The fight served as an edifying hors d’oeuvres to ‘Finest Gym’ stablemate Terry Flanagan’s breathtaking two round destruction of Las Vegan Diego Magdelano at Manchester Arena.
‘I used to spar the ‘Turbo’ but thankfully I grew too big!’ quips Coyne.
‘He’s such a quality southpaw, very difficult to read, and only Pacquiao has feet as quick as Terry’s. He’s been a champion for quite a while now but he’s never lost his hunger. As an amateur I sparred a bit with Callum Smith and lately I’ve been working with (Commonwealth Super-Middle boss) Luke Blackledge – a very fit lad – and Jimmy Kilrain Kelly.’
Coyne was still in short trousers when he first embraced the fight whilst at primary school.
He explains: ‘My dad was well into his boxing but didn’t have the health or temperament to follow it through.
‘I first trained at a boxing gym when I was just seven because, as a nipper, I loved Naz and Hatton. But I only got serious at the Fox ABC when I was 13, after getting a bit chubby. Once I put the gum shield in, and began sparring, I fell in love with it. (Current WBA lightweight king) Anthony Crolla used to box for the club and often organised our sessions.
‘When I was 17, I moved to Ancoats Lads and have been trained there by Steve Maylett ever since. I’m in the best hands. His knowledge and dedication are unbelievable. He really wants to prove himself as a trainer and he’s a real perfectionist. We’re all pretty harsh on ourselves at this gym, to be honest.
‘I had 28 amateur bouts and lost just five or six, including one in the senior ABAs when I was just 17. I’d win the north-west regions every year as a junior but never boxed international and didn’t really enjoy the amateurs. Back then, it was more like fencing. I liked a ‘tear up’ but judges favoured the flashy boxer types.’
Having recently sacrificed the security of his demolition position, this fast maturing full-time pro is now hell-bent on smashing his way through the domestic 12 stone competition.
‘Boxing’s my life. When I’m not at the gym, I’m a bit lost. I’ve got ambitions. By this time next year, I’ll hopefully be ready for local title level,’ says Coyne who returns to battle next weekend on Frank Warren’s huge ‘X-Mas Cracker’ bash at Manchester Arena, in a testing four rounder with Welsh warhorse Jamie Ambler.
‘I’ve got quite a large extended family who’ll all be there and I can’t wait to show them what I can do, put on a good performance and set the ball rolling again.
‘Ricky Hatton was a huge hero of mine and I went to many of his big fights at The Arena. His fan base and the atmosphere they created were unreal. If I get half of what ‘The Hitman’ got, I’ll have had a very successful career.’