By Jonny Stapleton
Patrick Hyland is one of boxing’s Mr Nice Guys.
Within seconds of force-feeding David Martinez lethal leather last October, he showed compassion and solidarity with the fighter he had just inflicted pain on by joining him on the canvas and consoling his felled victim.
Before his massive World title fight with Gary Russell Jr, he bore his soul about his fathers passing using the Worldwide platform to highlight suicide in the hope it may prevent some family going through the pain his did.
Probably not the ideal fight week preparation, certainly not stereotypical behaviors for the war machines that are fighters, but that’s our ‘Pajo.’
However, once AC/DC starts blaring, the curtains come back, and the ring walk begins, that side of the former World title challenger is buried temporarily.
The giver becomes the Punisher – and that selfish desire to succeed in the loneliest place in sport, the ring, takes over.
As a result, when Hyland takes on Josh Warrington in front of the former European champion’s noted support in Leeds on July 30th, he will be gunning to win for himself and his young family.
The Jobstown man is smart enough to know that a win could allow him to replace Warrington as the name most mentioned alongside Lee Selby, thus putting him straight back into World title contention.
There is no shortage of personal motivation for ‘Pajo’ and no doubt he will be focused on himself and rightly so. However, the 32 year old, who it’s rumoured didn’t get anywhere near six figures to fight Gary Russell Jr in America last time out, could do a generous act while in selfish mode on July 30th.
A win for Hyland against a Sky Sports name, and one of Matchroom’s favourite fighters, won’t just help the Brian Peters managed fighters career, it could do Irish boxing and a host of Irish fighters a massive favour.
We are not suggesting it’s final piece of the jigsaw Eric Cantona-Manchester United style, but a Hyland win can only give Eddie Hearn and Matchroom more reason to bring a big show and the Sky cameras to Belfast.
On the Belfast leg of the Frampton-Quigg, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn won the momentary favour of the crowd and forced Belfast fight fans to show him some love by revealing he would come to the current capital of Irish boxing with Ryan Burnett in April.
The show never materialised with some cynics suggesting it was all a ploy to unsettle Frampton and Cyclone Promotions.
However, Irish-boxing.com believe the Odyssey Arena was in fact booked for the last weekend in April, and Matchroom had plans to run a show with the likes of Tommy McCarthy, Luke Keeler and Jono Carroll supporting British bantamweight champion Burnett.
A clash between Irish middleweights Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Eamonn O’Kane was also lined up for the show. However, the chance to for Ricky Burns to make history and become a three weight World champ arose and Sky and Matchroom elected to run a show in Glasgow instead of Belfast.
There were suggestions that all involved felt that – considering there was no ‘big name’ a-la Paul McCloskey when Matchroom were trying to build Carl Frampton, before the inception of Cyclone Promotions, to piggy back off – more time for Burnett and co to establish a name for themselves was as potential stars would prove beneficial.
Burnett has the chance for more Sky exposure when he returns to the ring alongside Hyland on July 30th in Leeds, while McCarthy has since added another known name in Jon-Lewis Dickenson to his record to all but secure himself a British title shot, Luke Keeler’s profile was done no harm with his Fight Of The Year contender with Tom Doran, and Jono Carroll continues to grow his brand.
Throw in a known TV name and some more Irish prospects and the rumoured Matchroom Autumn Belfast show looks appealing and certainly worth Hearn and co pursuing.
However, if Hyland defeats Warrington and claims the WBC International featherweight title on a massive Sky show. it provides Hearn with another reason to explore a show in Ireland.
Hyland’s stock and notoriety will increase tenfold, he will get more exposure to the casual and could be in contention for a massive fight. Indeed, Hyland could start name dropping Lee Selby, a fighter Carl Frampton has been heavily linked to off late and Matchroom may then want to build toward that Irish-English clash.
A card with Burnett, McCarthy, Keeler, Carroll and Hyland on the back of a high profile win certainly sounds that bit sexier and could set ‘Operation Ireland’ into motion.
It has to be noted the Matchroom boss is very keen on Warrington versus Selby, and wants to make the domestic dust up. Indeed, there was talk the clash would happen this Summer in Elland Road, but there was a feeling Leeds man Warrington isn’t ready for the IBF World Champion.
Matchroom no doubt have that clash on their wish list. They would do little to jeopardise that clash although they are under pressure to give the undefeated 25 year old a test.
As a result, Matchroom must be confident their man will do a number on Hyland and. in that regard September, Hyland and Belfast are most likely not in Matchroom’s thoughts, but Hyland could change that.
‘Pajo’ himself and Hyland fans will be confident of an Irish victory on July 30th and there is a belief the Jobstown native could do a number on a fighter that still has question marks surrounding his World level credentials.
Irish fans will sing of the ‘Sky Hype Job’ hymn sheet, but that sing song was abruptly halted when Warrington out pointed Martin Lindsay in a 2014 British and Commonwealth title fight.
Most neutral observers see it as a close scrap with home advantage maybe slightly tipping it in the Leeds man favour.
Victory for Hyland, however, could prove to be his Paul McCloskey Colins Lyons moment, and provide Sky and Matchroom with another excuse to return to these shores.