Connor Coyle stops game Joey Bryant in five rounds

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Connor Coyle. Photo: Fire Fist Boxing Promotions

Joey Bryant came to fight, but Connor Coyle demonstrated why he was the more-superior fighter.

Now he hopes to face the upper echelon of the middleweight division.

Coyle dropped Bryant multiple times before ending matters in the fifth round late Saturday night at The Blind Tiger in Biloxi, Mississippi. Coyle, who is originally from Derry, Northern Ireland and now resides in Pinellas Park, Florida, improved to 20-0, 9 knockouts and successfully defended a regional title belt in the process.

On paper, Coyle had faced the better opposition between the two. Despite having only faced three fighters with winning records entering the Coyle fight, Bryant was game and determined, making up for the lack of pedigree that favored Coyle.

Coyle outboxed Bryant, and landed more punches during the fight, but Bryant did find some success in the pocket while both exchanged combinations.

By the fourth round, Coyle began to figure out Bryant, and his punches began to take their toll. Bryant began to slow down, and Coyle seemed to turn it on during the fifth round.

A combination dropped Bryant to the canvas past the minute mark in round five. Bryant was not visibly hurt but did look somewhat exhausted. Coyle dropped Bryant twice more, the last coming at 2:54, prompting the fight to be stopped.

Coyle is rated No. 6 by a major sanctioning body and believes he is more than ready to face the upper echelon of the division, including the world titleholders. He is promoted by Fire Fist Boxing Promotions and is trained by Jim McLaughlin.

The 28-year-old Bryant, who resides in Memphis, Tennessee, falls to 17-2, 13 KOs. Bryant had not fought since November 2021, stopping Marquez Greer in the fifth round.

Also on the card, heavyweight Jesus Escalera of Riverview, Florida, dropped Marcelo Leandro Da Silva (23-6, 18 KOs) twice en route to a first-round knockout victory.

Escalera improved to 17-0, 17 KOs. He fought two weeks ago, stopping Yonny Molina in the third round.

The 43-year-old Escalera has fought 13 times this year. He made his pro debut on October 14. According to SouthPaw Promotions head Billy Blea, Saturday’s knockout win for Escalera tied Mike Tyson’s record for the fastest number of knockout wins to start a pro career.

Light heavyweight Alvin Varmall, Jr. of Catskill, New York improved to 17-1-1, 14 KOs, stopping journeyman Billy Cunningham (11-47-1, 6 KOs) in the fourth round. Saturday marked Varmall’s first fight in almost five years.

In middleweight action, 42-year-old Travis Scott (20-6, 5 KOs) also returned from a long layoff (over four years) to defeat Knoxville’s Aaron Anderson (3-52, 1 KO) by unanimous decision over six rounds.


Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]


The cover of the June-July 2023 Summer Special was painted by Richard Slone.