Big time boxing is set to stay in Yorkshire after Luke Campbell lit up the KC Lightstream Stadium and stopped Hull rival Tommy Coyle to move one huge step closer to challenging for world honours.
Hull’s golden boy showed his class and confirmed his massive potential, adapting superbly to Coyle’s roughhouse tactics and outclassing him from start to finish.
Right from the first bell to the moment referee Victor Loughlin stepped in and saved Coyle from further misery in the 10th round, Campbell’s fast hands, defensive superiority and vicious body shots were far too much for his opponent.
Fifteen thousand braved the elements and flocked to the home of Hull KR to see if 2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell would live up to the hype that has surrounded him since his success at the London Games and subsequently from turning professional shortly afterwards.
Campbell’s performance and the Rumble On The Humber card lived up to its billing.
Nicknamed Cool Hand, Campbell showed ice cool composure in the face of a rough and rugged Coyle, who tried to manhandle from the first bell.
Campbell was sharper in the opening exchanges and it looked like it was done and dusted when he thudded home a huge left hook to Coyle’s ribs that put him down, but he showed his trademark resilience to beat the 10-count.
Coyle was on the receiving end on numerous occasions, particularly in the fourth and sixth rounds as Campbell showed razor sharp reactions to make his man miss and punish him.
The decisive blows came in the 10th as Coyle was once again down from a left to the body just 30 seconds into the round and yet again found himself on the canvas following a flurry of hurtful shots in the neutral corner.
Loughlin allowed Coyle a stay of execution when many thought it was over, and he was again patient when Campbell stalked him into another corner and put him on his backside again.
If Loughlin was overly-lenient with the weary Coyle on the previous three occasions, he was given no choice when Campbell again backed his man up and unloaded another flurry of vicious and accurate shots.
This time Loughlin showed mercy and called a halt to proceedings to save the brave Coyle from further punishment.
A delighted Campbell, who will move on to bigger and tougher challenges at world level now, said: “It was great, the build up to the fight, the head-to-head, the press conferences and with him being from the same city as me, there was the added pressure. I couldn’t go out of my house without people talking about it, that’s great.
“I wanted the rounds, I felt comfortable in there and could have done 15. I wanted it to last and would have been happy if it had gone to points to be honest.
“It’s all experience for me and getting the rounds in is what I needed and I’m just happy we gave the city of Hull and the boxing fans a good fight.
“This shows I can go into the later rounds and still be fit and strong and put a very good, experienced fighter away.”
Event promoter Eddie Hearn was quick to sing the praises of the 15,000-strong crowd as one of the best he’s seen.
Hearn said: “It was fantastic. I was worried when it was pouring down at 6 o’clock but luckily the weather held out for us.
“The atmosphere was one of the best I have seen. It was very special.
“Luke is in the mix and he’ll box at the end of October on the Kell Brook card in Sheffield. He is ready for a world title eliminator now but we might have one more big fight before that.
“All eyes turn to Leeds and Josh Warrington’s fight against Joel Brunker on September 5 and then Brook and Campbell at the end of October in Sheffield. It’s a massive time for British boxing.”
An emotional Coyle admitted there was a gulf in class and predicted big things for Campbell.
Coyle said: “I’m gutted. I genuinely thought that I’d have enough to upset the odds but credit where it’s due, Luke Campbell is a special, special talent.
“As I said in the build up, Luke will go on to be a world champion.
“He’s not a concussive puncher but he’s accurate and accumulates his shots. He’s an all-round special fighter and he’s very intelligent.
“He was better than me in every department. I did my best but he’s a better fighter than I thought.”
Campbell’s stunning performance should result in a world title shot in 2016, adding to what could be a huge year for Yorkshire’s fleet of boxing stars.
Rumours of Brook v Amir Khan have intensified, while well-supported Warrington and the McDonnell brothers Jamie and Gavin continue to impress.
There could be big nights ahead for boxing fans in Yorkshire to enjoy.