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“Do as I say, not as I did” – Coach Hyland trying to rein in Limerick war-lovers

It’s a case of ‘do what I say not do as I did’ for Eddie Hyland and his two Limerick-based charges.

The oldest of the three Irish champion brothers was known as the brawler – with Paulie the boxer and Pajo the fighter with pop – and was in some memorable wars over the years.

His brutal 2008 Irish title win over Kevin O’Hara is one that is still fondly remembered as is his entertaining bout a year later with Oisin Fagan.

At first glance, Graham McCormack and Siobhan O’Leary [1(1)-0] seem to be cut from the same blood and guts cloth but, rather than be impressed by the go-to-war tendency, the former all-action star is frustrated by it.

The Irish-Boxing.com Coach of the Year for 2018 points out he had no option but to stand and trade because of issues he had with his legs and claims, if he had the physical attributes of either, Limerick puncher he would have been a different boxer.

“Look, I liked to fight, but I had problems with my legs so I couldn’t dance like Patrick and Paulie. That meant I had to fight I had no option too, but I studied and learnt that side of the game,” he explained.

“Nicolas Cruz, who was with us on the Irish amateur squad, showed me how to fight like that. That man is a genius.”

If I had the physical attributes of Siobhan or Graham I’d have used them and saved myself the hard night.”

Both fighters fight for the first time this year on the ‘Clash of the Titans’ card set for the National Stadium this coming Saturday.

Garryowen southpaw McCormack faces a tough test in Jade Karam in his first six rounder while Killarney’s O’Leary takes on a fighter who has only been stopped by Natasha Jonas and Chantelle Cameron in Bojana Libiszewska.

Hyland is hoping to see more boxing from both and has been trying to persuade the pair to use their size, reach and height to their advantage.

“Graham is a comeforward southpaw that likes to fight, but he is a tall come forward southpaw. Most of the lads he fights are smaller than him and he crouches down and it makes it look sloppy. I want him to box that little bit better. I want to use his skills and his physical attributes without taking away that aggression,” he says of ‘The G-Train’ before discussing Kerry native O’Leary.

“Siobhan is the same. When she came to me all she wanted to do was fight. They both want to come forward and fight all the time. They are two tall even dangly kids, they can keep people at range if they want. I am trying to get them to use their reach and your brains at time instead of just ‘lets fight’.”

While the TNT boss sees room for improvement and both fighters will tell you he lets them know in no uncertain terms that is the case Hyland has been impressed with both since they teamed up.

“They are both coming on great to be honest,” he continued. “Graham is trying his best to do everything I say. He isn’t 100 percent confident boxing sometimes because all he did was fight, but he has the ability.”

“He is doing a lot of the stuff I have asked him to do and I have to be happy with that. Siobhan has settled into the gym perfectly and this is our second camp together and she is improving all the time.”

O’Leary faces a step-up in her second fight, but is expected to win this coming weekend. ‘G Train’ on the other hand faces a tougher test as he goes into a bit of a Munster derby with Cork-based South African Karam.

Hyland expects Karam to test his fighter on Saturday, but remains confident his charge will have too much for his friend.

“Graham has a challenge in Jade. A lot people will say he is past his sell by date and he has this defeat or that defeat, but he is still a dangerous fighter and he knows his way around the ring. He has fought good lads too and he is a step up. Still I think Graham will have too much for him.”

Tickets for ‘Clash of the Titans’ cost €40 (general), €60 (ringside), and €100 (VIP) and are available from the boxers involved or Ticketmaster (CLICK HERE).

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com