Top prospect Craig Coakley will look to finish Italian champion Eugenio Donato in Italy

Top prospect Craig Coakley will look to finish Italian champion Eugenio Donato in Italy

Craig Coakley can be described as a phenomenal talent, a dangerous fighter who’s shown in the past year that he can compete with, and finish, the best fighter’s in Europe.

His rise through the rankings has been quite staggering and with each performance you get a sense that he’s still not fully blossomed as a fighter. After a series of first-round finishes, he’s now regarded as one of the most dangerous strikers in Ireland.

Since turning professional he’s amassed an enviable record of 17-2, 14 of those victories coming via stoppages. The Dubliner is currently on a 13-fight win streak; finishing 12 inside the distance.

In March, he travelled to Birmingham to perform on Yokkao 23, the biggest platform of his career. Facing top UK talent Myk Estlick, he was expected to be given a stern test of character, however, Coakley has never been one to stick to the script.

He walked away with his hand raised following a two-round demolition of Estlick. Giving fans worldwide a taste of his sharp striking and pin-point accuracy.

In an interview with Fightstore Media, he said, “It was a great experience fighting on Yokkao. The set up over there was great and there’s a lot of exposure for fighters on such a big show. I’d definitely like to fight on it again.

“I learnt a lot from the victory, I take a lot from all my fights good or bad but the main thing is that I can compete with anyone in England or Europe. Myk is a great opponent and I made it look easy so that says a lot about me, but another thing is when I see the big lights I perform.”

The 24-year-old spoke of his desire to continue fighting on such a big stage and will look to appear on the best promotions available. He aimed to ‘make a big impression’ and explained that he was never ‘going over to simply scrape a win’.

On 27th May, Coakley travels to Milan, Italy, to represent Ireland against new Italian 62 kg champion, Eugenio Donato, at Wolf of the Ring.


Having defeated Rustam Vyntu, a teammate of Donato’s, on the Siam Warriors Superfights show last October; Coakley was offered an opportunity to fight the champion in Italy.

“I can’t wait to see a bit of sun haha… but I’ll have to keep away from the pizza until after the fight. I don’t know anything about [Donato} but I expect him to be technical and look to score as most Italian fighters have a similar style.”

Coakley added that he will approach the fight the same way as always.

“I’ll come to fight and try to take his head off. I always look to finish but don’t hunt for it.”

Victory in Italy would provide a perfect warm-up for his next scheduled bout against the highly-respected Stephen Meleady on Capital 1, which takes place on July 8th.

Meleady, formerly of Origins gym (Bridgestone), is an ISKA world champion, who’s shared the ring with some of the greatest Thai boxers from around the world.  He’s headlined and appeared on some of the best shows in the world, including Lion Fights USA, Yokkao, CMT Australia and Siam Warriors Superfights.

“That’s my biggest fight to date. He’s a world champion and has fought some huge names in Muay Thai but that won’t faze me, it will just motivate me,” said Coakley.

He added that their fight may become a MTGB title eliminator as he expects to face the winner of the main event. Lion Fights superstar Ognjen Topic squares off against UK’s Paul Barber for the MTGP lightweight crown.

“It would be huge for me hopefully if I can make a statement I’ll get the winner of Topic vs Barber for the MTGP world title. That’s going to be on the same night as my fight and we could be the title eliminator fight.

“Our fight has picked up a lot of hype but so it should. He’s the biggest name to come out of the country in Muay Thai and I’m one of the biggest prospects. This could prove who the best in the country is so I’ll be more than ready to prove I am,” he said.

Craig wishes to thank his sponsors: Lowcal Meals delivery, Fightstore Ireland, The Chop Shop Phisborough and Darren O Rourke in PhysiCare for there continued support and help.

Exclusive InterviewMuay Thai / K-1
Alastair Magee

Recent Journalism graduate with a passion for covering martial arts. Giving amateur and professional fighters in Ireland the coverage they deserve.

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