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Eddie Hearn: Lewis Ritson will “probably” defend British title versus Belfast’s Paul Hyland Jr

Paul Hyland Jr [17(6)-0] recently learnt what will likely await if he comes through his next bout unscathed and now he knows who.

The Lagmore lightweight was last week installed as mandatory challenger for the British title but had to wait until Saturday night to find out who he may challenge for the strap. The who became apparent less than six minutes into Lewis Ritson’s fire-fight second defence versus long-time Hylo target Scott Cardle on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Lucas Browne in London.

Newcastle’s Ritson [15(9)-0] stopped the Manchester-based Scot in the second round of a thrilling fight between reigning and former champions.

Cardle, who took the fight at relatively short notice, came flying out in the opening round but Ritson rode out the storm and hit back in the second. The Geordie floored his foe with a left hook before forcing Cardle’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, to throw in the towel by going all out for the finish when his opponent survived the count.

The 24-year-old champion is now just one win away from claiming the bout outright having destroyed Joe Murray inside a round last month. Having only won the title in October with a dominant stoppage of Robbie Barrett, the much-hyped fighter is now set to co-headline a bill in his home city alongside touted Olympian Josh Kelly in the Summer.

While promoter Eddie Hearn is keen to make this fight be a British and Commonwealth unification, the fact that Hyland sits in the mandatory position as well as the rainbow belt being contested just six weeks before the mooted Newcastle date of June 16th means that the Matchroom boss is expecting Hyland to feature in the opposite corner on Tyneside.

“Paul Hyland Jr is the mandatory,” Hearn told IFL TV.

“I’d quite like to make the [Tommy] Coyle and Masher Dodd winner as well for the British and Commonwealth – but, we’ll see.”

“Mark Dunlop, we’ve got a good relationship with him, and I’m happy to give Paul Hyland a shot, obviously, he’s mandatory. That will be, probably, the fight on June 16th for the belt.”

Hyland fought thrice on Matchroom bills last year, beating Peter Cope, Adam Dingsdale, and Stephen Ormond. Hearn’s latest comments will be music to the ears of the 27-year-old’s manager, Dunlop, who is especially confident that they can dethrone the English fighter and who claimed recently that Ritson’s team were avoiding Hyland.

Of course, Hyland can not get too far ahead of himself. The Commonwealth Youth bronze medalist headlines the ‘Collision’ bill at the Europa Hotel in his home city next month and will need to overcome Floyd Moore [15(9)-6(3)-2] to seal his shot at the Lonsdale belt.

The April 14th clash with the two-time Southern Area champ is a potential banana skin for Hyland who returns just under six months after having his jaw broken by Ormond. The undercard in three weeks time is comprised of Jay Byrne, Tony Nellins and Vladimir Belusjky.

Watch Eddie Hearn’s interview with IFL TV below:


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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: joneill6@tcd.ie