Hungry Undefeated Light Heavies Marcus Oliveira & Ryan Coyne Tangle in Vegas

Hunger is a key ingredient overlooked in the sport of pro boxing, whether it’s from an impoverished childhood or a burning ambition to succeed.

Two hungry undefeated light heavyweights, Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 Kos) and Ryan “Irish Outlaw” Coyne (21-0, 9 Kos) clash at the Treasure Island Casino and Hotel on Friday April 12, in Las Vegas. The fight on the Don King Promotions card will not be televised but should be.

These two are famished for attention.

Oliveira fights out of Lawrence, Kansas and has steadily built a career since 2006 with his blend of strength and power. He’s focused on defeating Coyne before thinking about anything else.

“I know we’re in the fight capital of the world, but I just focus on the opponent. I’m in a hotel room and don’t even realize I’m in Vegas,” said Oliveira, 34. “I’m excited that I’m fighting here but it’s not bothering me in any way.”

It’s a moment of truth for both fighters and they know it.

“I’ve got to win this fight,” says Coyne, 30, a graduate of Missouri University. “I really should have had a fight like this long before.”

Coyne is a former football player who fought on the Contender reality television show back in 2009 and was a cruiserweight until recently. Dropping down in weight has given him confidence.

“I’m definitely the stronger fighter,” Coyne says. “I have the strength advantage.”

Oliveira scoffs at that notion.

“I’m extremely huge. He thinks he’s going to be tank, but he’s small compared to me. I think he lost too much. I wanted to move to cruiserweight to fight him. They turned me down twice,” said Oliveira on Wednesday. “When I look at Ryan Coyne’s record, he hasn’t proved himself against anybody or in any tough battles. I don’t know why he’s ranked so high.”

Coyne has his sights dead set for a world title regardless of the opponent.

“Whoever has a belt I want him,” Coyne said. “It’s long overdue.”

Oliveira doesn’t want to even think about the future.

“My intentions are to get to the top but simply fighting to me is more important than thinking about all of that other stuff,” said Oliveira about the winner being designated the number one light heavyweight contender. “This is a bonus to me.”

Missouri’s Coyne expects a tough fight from Oliveira on Friday. No doubt about it.

“Marcus has been flying under the radar but this guy can fight,” said Coyne.

Oliveira echoes those sentiments.

“Undefeated fighters are the hardest ones to beat,” Oliveira said.

Usually it comes down to who’s the hungriest.

De La Rosa

James “King” De La Rosa (21-1, 12 Kos) doesn’t know a thing about his opponent but understands he has to win.

“Every fight is a dangerous fight,” De La Rosa said.

The junior middleweight from San Benito, Texas is anxious to fight whomever after an absence of over a year.

“I’d love to fight any of the top guys, Canelo, (Alfredo) Angulo or (James) Kirkland,” said De La Rosa. “I don’t care who it is.”

Televised card

Angelo Santana (14-0, 11 Kos) meets Bahodir Mamadjonov (12-1, 8 Kos) in a lightweight bout set for 10 rounds max. Showtime is planning to televise the match at 10 p.m.

The opening fight at the arena begins at 4 p.m.