From Olympic hero Luke Campbell to Commonwealth champion Tommy Coyle, East Yorkshire has had its fair share of boxing heroes over the years. And 2024 is shaping up nicely for a couple of bright prospects from the area too.
In February, Lewis Sylvester will battle it out for the WBC International lightweight title against Sam Noakes. And it won’t be long before Sonny Taylor, with a perfect 10-0 record, returns to the ring either.
To describe February as a good month for boxing would be something of an understatement.
Teofimo Lopez, Joshua Buatsi and Mauricio Lara are just three of those in action, while fight fans in Beverley will no doubt be glued to the undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
The Fury vs Usyk odds have the Gypsy King down as an 8/11 favourite, meaning that he could become the first undisputed British heavyweight king since Lennox Lewis in 1999. That said, the boxing odds have either Fury or Usyk to win on points as the most likely outcome, which suggests the bout could go the distance.
You can be sure that Sylvester will be watching on from home. A week prior to the Fury fight, the 25-year-old will tackle Noakes in London for the WBC strap – very much a step up in class, but one that Sylvester’s team have long tipped him to make.
Indeed, Stefy Bull – the respected trainer overseeing the Hull man’s career – has described Sylvester as one of the ‘most naturally gifted fighters’ he’s ever worked with, which is no small praise given the quality of operators he’s overseen from his Yorkshire gym.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) June 30, 2023
Sylvester, already the English lightweight champion, will be looking to step up to continental level in 2024. He’s a big underdog for the Noakes fight, but that’s not to say he hasn’t got a chance – he dealt with Jimmy First with ease in their title clash back in October.
At the age of 25, defeat wouldn’t shape Sylvester’s career either – regardless of the outcome of his trip to the capital, this is a Hull lightweight with the boxing world at his feet.
Cruising to Stardom
Fight fans in East Yorkshire were treated to an exceptional night of action when the sweet science returned to Hull’s City Hall in November.
Of all the fights on the card, one of the most eagerly anticipated was that of local boy Sonny Taylor, who did not disappoint in a points victory over Perry Howe.
— Curtis Woodhouse (@curtiswoodhous8) October 16, 2023
That means it’s ten unbeaten for the 28-year-old, who trains at Coyle’s gym in Hull, so Taylor is another local fighter with big aspirations in the year ahead.
The key will be in upping Taylor’s work rate, with the power-puncher only in action twice in 2023 – he will need to up that if he is to climb the domestic rankings.
But there’s some big fights available in the cruiserweight division at English and British level, so no doubt Coyle will be plotting a route for Taylor to title honours in much the same way he managed just a few years ago.
Could East Yorkshire boxing have two English title-holders by the end of 2024?
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