When Patrick Hyland returned sat on his stool after the first round of his fight with David Martinez – a fight some fans might remember for this moment of sportsmanship– he was ready for some words of wisdom from his father.
The Dublin fighter was fighting for the first time in his life without his Dad, noted Irish boxing personality and trainer Paddy Hyland in his corner. Hyland snr had passed the June before, but ‘Pajo’ still looked to his left expecting words of advice for a man that had accompanied to pro, amateur and underage fights over the years.
A slap from then trainer Tracey Patterson let Hyland know he had a job to focus on, but the Tallaght admits fighting without his father for the first time was extremely hard.
The 32 year old goes into the biggest fight of his life on April 16 and his WBC featherweight title fight will be just his second without his Dad accompanying to the ring and advising him between rounds. The loss of a loved one is hard for anyone to take, but it must that bit more difficult for those who work closely with a parent in search of a common dream and then have the chance to achieve it without them.
“It was hard the first time I was fighting without him. It killed me really,” Hyland told Irish-boxing.com.
“The training camp was grand. I wasn’t really thinking about it, but after the first round Tracey was talking to me and I looked to the left and asked ‘where is my Da?’. He just hit me a slap and said keep your head in the game, but I was looking for him.”
The challenger didn’t go as far as to say his father will be in their in spirit come April 16, but there is no doubt considering the role Paddy Hyland played in the fighter, who is now trained by Pascal Collins, development he will have an effect on any success on the night.
‘The Punisher’ is confident he will deliver success and is looking forward to sharing a moment with his father ‘when’ he becomes only the second Irish fighter to buckle a WBC World title around his waist.
“I’m dedicating this to my late father and after I win I’ll look up and say ‘Dad, we did it!’
“My Da will be looking down on me with a big smile on his face if I win it. The again If I lose he will be calling me a ‘little bollox’!” said Hyland.
“This fight means the world to me and it’s why I got into boxing. It’s all we have been working toward since I first started boxing with my Da,” he added before discussing how hard it as to fight without his father for the first time.