By Rory Fitzgerald
It’s been a very exciting time lately for Irish boxing. We have a World Champion in Andy Lee. We have two exciting prospects in Luke Keeler and Jono Carroll who have been signed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable. Also, Matthew Macklin coming off the back of a defeat, will be eager to prove that he still belongs on the world stage.
Another man who will be keen to show that he still belongs on the world stage is Dublin featherweight Paddy “The Punisher” Hyland. Jobstown man Hyland has already challenged for a world title. In December 2012, he was outpointed by the undefeated Javier Fortuna for the WBA World featherweight title in a close fight in which Hyland believes he could have done a little bit more on the night.
Hyland explains “For the first 4 rounds the game plan was to just take on his onslaught and take everything he had. I never really got going until round 6 onwards and by that time I was chasing the fight”.
Hyland did not step inside the ropes for over 18 months after that fight. It was a really hard time for the Dublin man, as problems with his promotion company, who were letting him down time and time again meant he had to watch on in frustration, as the likes of fellow Dubliner Stephen Ormond was making a huge name for himself.
“I had problems with my promotion company, things just weren’t going to plan. They were trying to put me in with bigger guys. Then after the fight (against Fortuna) I wasn’t fighting until March and then that got cancelled. It just went very back and forward”, explained “The Punisher”.
After finalising his release from his promoters, Lou Di Bella made his move to sign up the talented Featherweight, a move in which Hyland said was an easy decision “When Lou Di Bella came to me, it was really a no brainer. This guy can take me right to the top, and that’s what I believe”
Hyland’s most recent fight, his Madison Square Garden debut, was against Colombian Manuel De Los Reyes Herrera in what was an impressive stoppage win for Hyland. He landed a beautiful right hand to the body in the 4th round and his opponent could not make the referees count. Hyland reflects on his first outing in the famous arena as one of the best moments of his career.
“Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of fighting at Madison Square Garden. Just sitting in the changing room by myself, thinking of all the great fighters who have passed through here. Just even being in that arena was a dream come true for me”.
With the problems now firmly behind him, and with a promoter who is going to make sure his fighter stays as active as possible, Hyland knows that 2015 has to be the year that he gets his career going in the right direction. With the aim to secure a World Title fight sometime next year, the standard of opponent is likely to increase rapidly. A fight with Leeds man Josh Warrington has being mooted, but doubts over Eddie Hearn’s willingness to put his man in with the dangerous Hyland may effect that fight happening. Either way, the Jobstown man is determined that 2015 is the year that everybody knows that “The Punisher” is back.
“I’m hoping to get a big fight soon, a big step up. Get some sort of title, maybe European. This is the year I want to push on, get in that mandatory position for a world title fight next year”.