Tonight’s European title fight might seem like the end of a long hard journey for Paul Hyland Jr [20(70-1(1)], but the Belfast lightweight claims it’s just the beginning of a much bigger stage of his career.
It’s not that people don’t give ‘Hylo’ a chance of defeating reigning EBU European Champion Francesco Patera [20(7)-3(0)] in Milan tonight, rather some see the clash as the ultimate reward for a fighter who has had to journey over difficult terrain to reach the potential promised land.
Granted the 29-year-old has challenged for the British title – where he suffered defeat to Patera victim Lewis Ritson – but he has had to earn crust on the small hall circuit allied by brief Sky Sports appearances.
For the MHD fighter to have secured such a shot without powerhouse promotional backing warms the hearts of some hardcore boxing fans and thus prompts them to almost be content that such a hard working fighter has been handed reward.
However, the fighter himself isn’t willing to settle and doesn’t see his shot at a title once held by stablemate James Tennyson as a gift for years of hard work, rather he sees it as a springboard to massive fights that can secure his legacy and future.
“It’s every boxer’s dream to fight for European titles and in big fights at this level,” explained Hyland.
“I believe it is going to propel me on to world title shots, which is what every boxer wants to fight for, and it’s going to set me up for the rest of my life with big fights.”
The fighter, who is trained by his father Paul Hyland Snr, is an underdog going into the clash. However, it has to be noted most people are basing their predictions on the combatants differing displays against Newcastle’s Ritson.
The challenger has throughout the build-up dismissed the idea he can’t beat the champion because he lost to the former British title challenger and has claimed the lessons learnt in his stoppage reverse to the Matchroom fighter a year ago will be key in him winning in Italy tonight.
Indeed, the Mark Dunlop-guided Gleann lightweight claims he can only see one outcome, an away win.
“I can only see it going one way. My way. And the new. I’ve had a long hard camp but I’m ready to do the business on Friday night,” Hyland added.