Crunch time ahead for Coombs

Mark Coombs (left) on the way to beating Louis Byrne last weekend      'Picture: Mick Young
Mark Coombs (left) on the way to beating Louis Byrne last weekend 'Picture: Mick Young
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Mark Coombs has targeted putting a frustrating six months behind him as he enters a critical period of his boxing career.

Coombs is determined to inject fresh impetus into his progress as he looks to get in to the title mix.

The 26-year-old has had a difficult time after planned title fights were called off to leave him in limbo.

A proposed meeting with Isle of Wight hard-man Jay Morris and old amateur foe Nicky Jenman never materialised for the light-middleweight.

Coombs, nicknamed Kid Kurylak, admitted that has tested his confidence and resolve to make a name for himself.

He put illness behind him to pick up a routine four-round win over journeyman Louis Byrne at South Parade Pier last Saturday.

Now the 7-0 Portsmouth man knows he has to kick-start his career.

Coombs has received a financial lifeline to help him push forward.

And the challenge for him is to put a tough time on the boxing front behind him and step up to the next level.

Coombs said: ‘It’s been awful, really.

‘I had a title fight lined up which I trained for and I took time off work for.

‘That got called off three weeks beforehand and then there was another fight which was rescheduled and called off.

‘Then I was due to go spar Kell Brook and that got cancelled the day before.

‘Then it was straight into another title fight which got cancelled.

‘It’s been six months of training, training, training. In the end I was exhausted and I didn’t want to do it.

‘The missus is pregnant and I’ve had a lot going on.

‘It’s been a bit frustrating and maybe there’s been a bit of confidence affected in the gym.

‘There are new fighters and I’m working, so I have to train when everyone else is there and I don’t get as much personal time.

‘My trainer Mike (Ballingall) has to give everyone attention, but I suppose you have to think a bit selfishly.

‘He’s helped me a lot, though, and I’ve been given support from Southern Finance and PJM Electricals who have given me some money. That’s helped.

‘I’ve got another win under my belt – now I’m looking to get out again this year and push on.’

Coombs’ performance against Byrne proved to be solid rather than spectacular after he got off his sick bed to step between the ropes.

He did enough to get a comfortable 40-37 success under his belt, however.

Coombs said: ‘It was a standard performance, really.

‘I was pretty much bed-stricken for three days going into the fight. The fight came about late as well.

‘So I had a week’s training and was ill for half of that.

‘I gave away weight and he had a good left hook on him.

‘So I had to break him down with the jab, and that’s what I managed to do.’