He looks set to face Carl Frampton late this summer, but another Irish fighter came close to getting his gloves on Leo Santa Cruz before that massive and eagerly anticipated World title fight played out.
Patrick Hyland, who has a massive high profile Showtime broadcast featherweight title fight of his own to look forward to, was in the running to face the WBA World champion ahead of the the Mexican’s last fight.
Instead PBC elected to put Santa Cruz (32-0-1) in against former World super bantamweight champion and Carl Frampton foe Kiko Martinez, who also holds a win over Bernard Dunne and was linked to Hyland’s brother Paulie around the time of his European title fight with Willie Casey, in California on the same night as ‘The Jackal’ was out pointing Scott Quigg in Manchester.
It would have been a massive bout for the Tallaght fighter, but he isn’t too disappointed it didn’t materailse as he now has a shot at WBC champion Gary Russell Jr to look forward to.
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com last weekend Hyland revealed the Santa Cruz link and also revealed the chance to fight for the famous green strap came out of the blue.
“I don’t know how it came about,” said Hyland when discussing the Russell Jr April 16 World title fight.
“My promoter and management did great work and got me the fight. They asked me would I take it and I said ‘too right I will’. It wasn’t on the horizion I just got a call out of the blue and next thing I am fighting for the WBC title.
“In fairness before that my name was put forward for Leo Santa Cruz too. Kiko Martinez grabbed that one and fair play to him, but Lou then said he had something big plans for me. Then I hear that was against Russell Jr for his WBC belt and I said ‘f**k yeah I’ll take that’,” an excited Hyland added.