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Devine: I’ll have a beer with Hylo after – but I’ll go through him for the Irish belt

Michael Devine was involved in one of the stand-out fights at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The Luton-born lightweight defeated Vitalijs Usovs over four rounds [39:37] to score his first win in over 18 months – although that includes a dubious loss recently at the York Hall.

The bout on ‘The Future’ card was a special one for Devine, who has Galway and Wexford relatives, as it was his first contest in Ireland.

Afterwards he spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and gave an honest appraisal of his performance, admitting that “I wasn’t at my best, I’m still rusty.”

“It was a bit messy, at the end of the day I’d give myself a seven out of ten.”

However, ‘Chunky’ saw a lot of positives in the entertaining performance noting how “at times I boxed really well, I’m in transition, I’m changing my style, I can box, I can fight.”

“I hurt him a few times, I nearly got him out of there a few times.”

“I tried to enjoy myself, it’s great to get a win again.”

While he might not yet be known to the regular Irish fan, there certainly was a large following in the National Stadium for Devine, and it could be even bigger next time as he explains that “I’ve got a big family over here, and I didn’t have my full Luton fanbase here.”

“My mate got buried recently, so I’d like to dedicate that to Peter Bonnar, and Mary Inglis – my missus’s nan, she passed away recently as well, she was from Ballymun, so that was for them two.”

His fight on Saturday with Usovs is hopefully just the start for the Irish title-chasing 27 year old who outlines how “winning was the main thing, it sets me up for the Irish title at the end of the year hopefully.”

His rival for the belt is Paul Hyland Jr, who also won on the FS Promotions card at the weekend, and Devine has no qualms about fighting the unbeaten Belfast brawler. The Prizefighter finalist said “Listen, we’re both fighting men and that green belt means the World to me, I’ll tell you, and I’m willing to go through anyone to get that title”.

“Hyland’s a nice lad, I was talking to him today.”

“At the end of the day it’s boxing, after we fight we can have a beer together. He’s a nice lad, but I’m winning that belt.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie