Boxing: Kevin Hooper targeting a 'Rumble on the Humber' with Tommy Coyle
GRIMSBY boxer Kevin Hooper is targeting a "Rumble on the Humber" with English title challenger Tommy Coyle – but must first lift the Midlands Area title on his ring return in October.
Hooper, unbeaten in 12 fights, will contest for Area lightweight honours at the Beachcomber, Humberston, on October 19.
The 28-year-old will bid for his third professional belt having already won the British and International Masters titles.
Unbeaten Hull boxer Coyle, 22, takes on Walsall's Martin Gethin for the vacant English belt on September 29.
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And if both are successful, 'Super Hooper', pictured, hasn't forgotten the accusation from Coyle's camp in January that the Grimsby man was 'running scared' from a match-up – a claim the boxer later echoed via his Facebook page.
"If we both win then let's get that Rumble in the Humber on," said Hooper, who has 12 wins from as many fights.
"He called me out – let's see if he'll live up to his word.
"It's a fight we both want. If he thinks he can take me out then he can come to Grimsby like he said he would.
"We're both unbeaten. Something's got to give.
"Fingers' crossed he won't go back on his word.
"If he wins the English title, he can come here and defend it."
As reported, Coyle's trainer, Stevie Smith, said in January: "Tommy is too powerful and would walk through Kevin Hooper.
"We approached them about the fight. We said we'd have been happy to come to Grimsby if the issue was about them coming to Hull."
He added at the time: "If there's the option of an English title fight or an eliminator fight for a British title that would push the winner up the rankings, we'll definitely consider it."
Hooper's manager, Carl Greaves, denied the camp was avoiding Coyle, who has a perfect record from 13 bouts, but promised to be ready when "something bigger" was on the line.
For now, Hooper, a security guard, is focused on delivering the first Midlands Area title victory seen at a Grimsby-area venue since Stuart Fleet's light heavyweight success in 1997.
His opponent is yet to be confirmed.
"Winning the Area title would open doors for me," said Hooper.
"It's a big belt and is regarded as a stepping stone towards the British title.
"I want to keep climbing that ladder and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Sean Wood, the Grimsby fighter's coach, insists the Area showdown won't be taken lightly – as it marks the completion of a journey they first plotted three years ago.
"When Kev first turned pro, the aim was to reach this point. The Midlands Area title is a big thing for us."
Wood would also welcome a showdown with Coyle.
"He offers fighters out but, when they stand up, he finds excuses," said Wood. "Let's hope he doesn't go back on his word."