Coyne on The Contender, Week 1



Ryan advances after the first episode of this season's Contender!

The new season premiered last night and features St. Louis' own cruiserweight 26-year-old Ryan Coyne.

Coyne arrived in Singapore to find himself on the Blue Team, coached by John Bray, who, I got to say, is one m-effin', scary-looking dude. (Ryan tells me Bray was coached by Kenny Loehr on some national teams back in the '80s and '90s.)

Tony Danza, a former boxer who hasn't fought since 1980 when he got his break in acting, is hosting this time round, and bears zero resemblance to the housekeeper/dad on Who's The Boss? According to Ryan, he's in sick shape. You can tell. I also like the silver buzz cut. Smokin' hot for an old dude.

So what happened?

The 16 guys from all around the world -- Samoa, Nigeria, Yonkers, New York -- were separated into two teams, Blue and Gold, and started training. The first bracket consists of eight fights; that means Ryan will get in the ring here at some point in the next few weeks.

But last night it was Felix Cora Jr. (Blue) and Joell Godfrey (Gold) squaring off in five three-minute rounds.

Some good drama, what with Cora Jr. having arrived in Singapore just as Hurricane Ike was hitting his home in Galveston, Texas. Cora Jr.'s dad told him over the phone that the whole family was counting on him to win the big purse and come back to help the town.

Godfrey, who once lived in East Saint Louis, looked a little surprised to be matched against Cora Jr. -- and definitely did not have game. Godfrey won the first round handily but hung out on the ropes practically the rest of the bout, allowing Cora Jr. to turn on the body-punch pretty good.  

Score one for Blue.

I'm no fan of reality television, but I have developed quite the liking for boxing over the last year, and, got to admit, it was kind of cool to watch (cheesy music and all) and root for somebody I now know. Though Ryan didn't get a ton of solo-time on camera last night, I'm guessing he'll come off looking pretty good in the end. (Some outtake videos here.) 

So far he looks serious, intent. Definitely not spouting off like some of these dudes. And he definitely gets the ribbon for "Best Looking."

One thing this show isn't...a beauty pageant.

-Kristen Hinman  

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