It was a case of guts galore but ultimately no glory for Paul Hyland in Milan on Friday night.
The Belfast lightweight went all out against Francesco Patera, but was eventually outclassed by the ever improving Belgian and returns to Belfast without the European title.
The 29 year old looked to set a high pace from the start, but couldn’t dent the clever champion, who proved his barrage surviving capabilities when winning the title against Lewis Ritson.
The challenger certainly wasn’t lacking in work rate or desire and was at his typical entertaining best, but as the rounds passed the cleaner work of Patera started to take real effect.
Hyland found himself down at the end of the second and the fifth and the referee waved off proceedings when he touched down for a fourth time in the fight in the sixth stanza.
Francesco Patera 6th round stoppage against Paul Hyland Jr #PateraHyland
— All Of The Belts (@AllOfTheBelts) June 28, 2019
While he didn’t leave the ring with the title, Hyland did step back out through the ropes having earned the respect of those watching. Not only did he get off the canvas four times, but he fought from first minute to last in a bid to claim what would have been a career changing win.
There was no feeling out process in the first round and the fight settled into a fimilar Hylo pattern.
Both fighters let their hands go and looked to be busy. It was a hard round to score as both landed good shots, but Hyland certainly didn’t look overawed.
The high pace continued into the second and the Belfast fighter land some straight rights. The 29-year-old looked to be working off ‘you have to grab’ the title mantra. However, taking the famous blue belt looked less likely when ‘Hylo’ was dropped with a beautifully timed right hand counter right on the bell.
Hyland didn’t look to take a break in a bid to clear his head as the third started. He continued to march forward, but was getting caught as he winged in big shots. It was guts galore, but again as the round came to a end it looked like the champion might take the short route to victory.
The away fighter was hurt to the body late on, although he did claim he was caught low.
Hyland’s big heart was on display again in the following round. He continued to march forward in a bid to apply pressure, but the Patera had much the cleaner work and never looked overly troubled.
Hylo landed a big right hand early in the fifth, but Patera is a master of the distance and when he shook it off it looked worrying. Some issue with water in the corner and a low blow allowed both fighters to take a breath, but when time in was called the pair went at it again.
There was leather in abundance, but the high end stuff was coming from the Belgian and he managed to drop the MHD man with a body shot late in the round.
Hyland rose to his feet and once again came out to fight in the sixth, but a crisp uppercut to the body forced him to take an knee for a second time. The former British title challenger was never going to stay down, but soon after was hurt to the body again. A counter left hook shook his ribs and he was consulting with the canvas again. He did beat the count but the referee waved the fight off and Patera retained his title.