No Hyde-ing – Haringey champ Tommy targeting Joe Ward scalp


He spent his youth in the corner of one the greatest amateurs of all time and now Tommy Hyde is looking to take over from another legend of the vest.

The Cork light heavyweight was essentially  a member of Team Rigondeaux when his father Gary managed the brilliant Cuban fighter. As a youngster he followed the man who won consecutive Olympic golds around the world during his early pro career from America to Japan and Ireland in between.

Hyde admits he took a lot of what he learnt a lot from shadowing ‘Rigo’ into his first ever Senior competition in London last weekend and it seems to have paid dividends as the teen managed to go on and win the prestigious Haringey Box Cup.

Now he is aiming to become the main man in Ireland – and is confident that he has what it takes to dethrone Joe Ward.

Hyde was impressive over the weekend at the Ally Pally. A second round stoppage of Woking’s Dean Freeman in the final proceeded a 4-1 win over Leon Nihell, brother-in-law of Belfast’s Commonwealth bronze medallist Alanna, of the British Army and a unanimous win over Manny Essex from Danson Boxing.

Headguard off, up in weight, three wins in three days, it was a big introduction for Hyde who adapted perfectly.

“I feel great after three good fights in my first senior tournament,” he told Irish-Boxing.com.

“I could feel myself getting sharper as the fights went on.”

While his style may not be too reminiscent of the diminutive Cuban, 19-year-old Hyde certainly learnt a thing or two from the amateur legend.

He explained how “watching Rigondeaux training and fighting was an eye-opener for me and showed me what it takes to be at the very top level.”

“I saw how he dealt with the pressure of massive fights in big stadiums,” he added before reflecting further on a memorable weekend where he announced his arrival on the Senior scene.

“It’s a great confidence booster winning the Haringey Cup, it’s one of the biggest tournaments in Europe and I’m looking forward to a busy 12 months.”

A first National Elite Championships looks to make up a part of that busy 12 months.

Currently set for the end of this year – although expected to be pushed to the start of next year – it promises to be a crucial tournament as it offers a pathway to the European Games/Championships in Minsk, Belarus, and the subsequent World Championships in Sochi, Russia.

At this moment in time, Hyde is planning on weighing in at light heavy and is all too aware that Irish Captain and serious Olympic medal hope Joe Ward will have to be defeated if he is to win it.

The Moate man had a big weekend of his own over in Germany, winning bronze at the Chemistry Cup after being controversially edged out by long-time rival Julio La Cruz after a bout where he dropped the Cuban in the opening round.

However, the ambitious emerging talent doesn’t shy away from the challenge. Instead, he is excited by the prospect of testing himself against the triple European champion and three-time World Championships medallist.

Indeed, Hyde goes as far as to suggest he has what it takes to beat the Rio Olympian.

The focused young gun holds a Tokyo ambitions, and Irish team captain Ward is a roadblock he will have to pass.

Hyde states that “my dream is to win the Elite Championships next year and the main man at my weight is Joe Ward. He’s a great boxer and I’ve looked up to him for years but I can’t wait to give it a crack and I’m more than confident I can win it.”

“The Rio Olympics is the main goal now. I’m learning and improving all the time so I’m going in the right direction in reaching it.”

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