26 July 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Eddie Hyland was understandably overjoyed after getting the better of Oisin Fagan over the course of 12 bruising rounds at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Saturday night.
The eldest Hyland brother claimed the vacant IBF International super-featherweight title with a thoroughly deserved unanimous points win over Gael Force, in what will undoubtedly rank as one of the finest domestic dust-ups in Irish boxing history.
Certainly, Hyland felt that he and Fagan had served up something truly special.
“I think that has to be the fight of the year. It was just toe-to-toe for 12 rounds; a world-class fight. Hats off to Oisin because hes a great fighter but I think I just boxed a little cleverer than he did,” the reigning Irish super-featherweight champion told reporters immediately after the bout.
“I trained hard for this fight, I wanted it badly, I predicted that Id win it and thats exactly what I did. But I cant say enough good things about Oisin. Hes a true warrior.
“He never really hurt me at any point but it was tough going. I knew going in there what to expect as Ive sparred him a lot.
“But I just think hes a great guy and great fighter and I would be open to fighting him again. Id never say no to Oisin. Hes a great friend.
“But I am looking forward. Ive gotten through this and now Im thinking of bigger and better things.
“I dont know whats in store for me yet so Ill just have to sit down with my people and see what they want to do next.”
The three judges at ringside scored it 118-111, 116-112, 118-110 in favour of Hyland, but even he admitted that the bout had been far closer than those scores suggested.
“If it had gone the other way I probably wouldnt have had any complaints! We both fought our hearts out in there and either of us would have been a worthy winner after that,” he confessed.
“But I felt Id clearly won the fight and I thought that he ran out of a bit of steam after the eighth around. Still, credit to him, he was still there at the end.”
Of course, Hyland was also still there at the end, which was particularly satisfying for the Tallaght native, given that his stamina had been questioned before the bout.
“A lot of people underestimated me. Ill fight until Im dead and thats the Gods honest truth. Thats the only way youll stop me. I think I proved that against Kevin OHara and I definitely proved it tonight,” he declared.
“But we both deserved a lot of credit because it was a really great fight.”