Irish boxer to return from retirement to take on Conor McGregor?

EDIT: Pajo Hyland has confirmed that the story was the beginnings of an April’s Fool Day prank which exploded more than he could ever imagine.

Below is the original unabridged article published earlier today

An Irish boxer got the wheels of the rumour mill turning today with a series of social media posts that seemed to suggest he is to end his retirement and return to the ring for an unlikely bout with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

Patrick Hyland [31(15)-3(2)] retired last year following a career in which he won the Irish title and challenged for the WBC featherweight crown.

This afternoon however the 33 year old Tallaght boxer hinted that he is to make a return to the sport.

Things then got very interesting when ‘The Punisher’ seemed to describe how he will face a well-known debutant in a 155lbs bout.

While absolutely nothing is confirmed, and it could be a mere prank (April Fool’s Day is on Saturday after all), this would look to suggest that Hyland may be line to face fellow Dubliner Conor McGregor.

If one is to consider the context, Hyland described how a bout would be at 155lbs, not an official weight class in boxing but the lightweight limit in mixed martial arts – the division where McGregor currently is UFC champion.

‘The Notorious’ is certainly “well known” and, having gained a boxing licence from the California State Athletic Commission, the former Crumlin amateur is looking to make his debut.

Some believed that this debut would take place in a cross-codes boxing match with five-weight champion Floyd Mayweather, a potential fight which has captured the imagination in recent months – although most see it as an easy win for ‘Money’ Mayweather.

However, in Hyland, perhaps McGregor is looking to test the waters in boxing beforehand through an official bout or exhibition.

Hyland has links to the McGregor camp, and the pair have sparred before – indeed footage of a light-hearted grappling match between the two in 2013 went viral last year.

Add to this, Hyland’s brother Paul currently works in Straight Blast Gym Tallaght, a subsidiary of McGregor’s home gym of SBG Dublin.

Should such a fight take place, ‘The Punisher’ would be fighting over two stone above the fighting weight (126lbs) where he campaigned during his pro career. Hyland has not fought since his loss to Josh Warrington in Leeds last July, and this alongside the weight disparity could be seen as something of an equaliser going into such a bout.

When asked to comment, Hyland was unable to confirm nor deny that he will face McGregor.

28 year old McGregor hit headlines recently when he was part of Mick Conlan’s debut ringwalk at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Following the fight, the two-weight UFC champion would confront boxing media and claim that he will “take over boxing.”

Could this start, and potentially end, with Pajo Hyland?

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]