ATLANTIC CITY – When light heavyweights Ryan Coyne, 21-1, 9 KOs, and Lionell Thompson, 14-2, 9 KOs, lock horns in their 10-round co-feature bout Saturday night, the two boxers will be fighting for both the win and to steal the nationally televised show. The prime opportunity opens the NBC Sports Network telecast beginning at 8PM, December 14th, from Resorts International Hotel and Casino. The season-ending edition of Fight Night, titled “Road to Redemption”, is once again expected to garner big ratings, and the fighters would like nothing more than to grab the event’s headlines with everyone watching.
The main event is an anticipated 10-round heavyweight showdown between Amir Mansour, 19-0, 14 KOs, and Kelvin Price, 14-1, 6 KOs. It too is a terrific matchup, but the Coyne-Thompson fight could very well give the spotlight bout a real run for its money. Both Coyne and Thompson have something to prove, and are expected to go all-out when the bell rings, each looking for their own versions of redemption.
The crowd-pleasing Coyne is a St. Louis southpaw who is coming off the only loss of his career. Known as “The Irish Outlaw”, Ryan knows that an impressive win over Thompson would simultaneously revive his career momentum and help him crack the 175-pound rankings. Such a victory would also almost certainly keep him fighting on national TV, where he can continue to win fans and build his profile.
Coyne said, “Regarding, Lionell Thompson. I read this morning that he’s ready to destroy me and I’ve been built up and protected. That I’m facing destruction because he’s sky high and in tip top shape. Well that’s lovely. That’s his job. You’re supposed to be in shape and riding high… I spent my fall racking up rounds in Germany knocking Marco Huck out of his title defense and even bringing Marcus Oliviera down to our camp to spar for this bout. I don’t need to brag about my preparation. I’m a professional.” He added, “I just need to defeat him and that is the only thing that matters on Saturday night in Atlantic City.”
The outspoken Thompson recently made some noise with his guarantee to knock Coyne out. He says it’s a sure thing. So on Saturday, it will be time for the Buffalo, NY native boxer to either put up or shut up. Thompson has impressed many times previously, but is still working to make fans forget his loss to Sergey Kovalev last year. Thompson took the fight with just two weeks’ notice and the loss came just three fights before Kovalev became champion. However Thompson wants redemption and he wants to land a rematch with the new champ. Backing up his words in a big way against Coyne might just get him what he wants.
Thompson stated, “I don’t know too much about Coyne. I heard he’s a tough guy, so I am looking towards a tough fight. I know he’s a southpaw. That’s ok, for the last 5 months I have been sparring with a lot of southpaws. I plan to keep backing this guy up. We’ve got some tricks we’re going to use Saturday night.” He added, “I am in tip top shape. I’m ready to go out there and give an impressive, victorious performance. I’m so excited to be on NBC Sports Network. I just can’t wait for the opening bell on Saturday.”
Both Coyne and Thompson are determined to make the most of the big opportunity that lies before them this weekend. Winning keeps one on track and moves the victor a step closer to the goal of fighting for the world light heavyweight championship. Both fighters need the “W”, and plan to do everything possible to claim it. Having their hand raised is the bottom line, but it wouldn’t hurt if while trying to secure this critical victory, Coyne and Thompson put on a fight that steals the show.