New star Paul Hyland Jr – “I was trying to stay calm”

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As he stood in the neutral corner almost sheepishly, you could see that even Paul Hyland Jr [16(6)-0] himself was surprised.

The Belfast lightweight flew out of the blocks, flooring Adam Dingsdale in the opening round of their clash and finishing the job seconds later with a major statement KO.

Hyland had trained for a tough 10 rounds with the Englishman, but found himself back in the dressing room with the IBF lightweight East/West Europe title draped over his shoulder around about the same time he was expecting to be rising from his stool for round three.

‘Hylo’ dropped jaws in the boxing world and, if his support were not so boisterous, could have stunned the SSE Odyssey Arena into silence as he blasted out a fighter that had never been stopped, within a round.

Securing victory wasn’t necessarily an ‘upset’ per say, but the manner in which it came wouldn’t have been on the most optimistic punters docket.

Hyland basically grasped the chance afforded to him by Matchroom’s return to Belfast with both gloves and, while back in the dressing room his own surprise didn’t seem to allow the significance of the sensational win to sink in, Hyland was buzzing.

“I trained hard and I was expecting a tough fight. I did think I would break him down later on, but I just caught him. Adam is a tough opponent on paper and I am buzzing i went in and got the job done,” he explained.

“People were saying it was a 50/50 fight and they were buzzing to watch it next to Ryan’s. I had a game plan to push him back for the whole fight, but I caught him early. he came over here confident he was going to beat me. All respect to him he was a really nice guy.”

Reflecting on the knock out win over a fighter, who went the distance with Stephen Ormond and Derry Mathews, Hyland noted how “it was just quick! He was trying to hold on so I knew he was hurt and power comes with speed so I was just quick.”

“After the first knockdown I was trying to stay calm because that is when you are at your most vulnerable, but when I caught him with the right hand he tried to walk forward and hold, so I just let the punches go quick.”

The Belfast fighter acted as chief support to the main event and his support was a precursor for what was to come.

Speaking after the clash Hyland was keen to thank those who came to cheer him on.

“I was buzzing before the fight and then the atmosphere was great when I got into the ring. That was broadcast live on TV on a Saturday night so I am buzzing more now. I am very grateful for everyone supported me and it was great to get the job done for them.”

Hyland directed any questions as to what he would like to do next onto Mark Dunlop, but the manager was just happy to bask in what could prove a career-changing win.

“If you’re going to take a chance you take it in an arena in your home city on a World title bill and he did that. We will enjoy this for now.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show:

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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years