No Hyde-ing – Tommy ready to take on Joe Ward following Irish title win


Joe Ward or not, Tommy Hyde claims he is entering the 2019 National Elite Championships to win them.

The 18-year-old claimed a first adult Natoonal title with victory over Kevin Kehoe of Marble City in a tense Senior (Intermediate) decider on Friday night but wasn’t long about looking forward to 2019 and what looks a massive challenge.

Friday’s win was special for the young Mayfield BC talent and his sizable support but, not long after he had finished posing for pictures and sharing embraces with those who had traveled to watch his success, he was labeling the victory a stepping stone to the Elites.

The tournament in February is the natural progression for all Intermediate final winners but with Joe Ward, possibly the best 81kg amateur on the planet, set to enter ahead of an Olympic year there were suggestions some of the up-and-coming talent may not be too keen.

However, that doesn’t seem to be the case across the board and certainly not for Hyde, who claims he is entering with a view to winning the tournament outright.

“It sets me up nicely for the Elites. I am definitely going into them at 81kg,” Hyde told Irish-Boxing.com before taking a calm, sensible but not overawed approach to the  the obvious Ward question.

“Look, sure you have to take them all on. There is no point in hiding from anyone. You have to look at it like it’s just another person with two arms and two legs.”

“It will be a great experience for me, but of course you enter looking to win it. I have never sparred him, but it would be a great experience to fight him.”

While he wasn’t afraid to look forward or to go as far as to highlight Tokyo 2020 as a goal, Friday was a special night for a young man fight fans will remember as the blessed kid who was a regular at big shows and among numerous big names his father, Gary, managed was one Guillermo Rigondeaux.

The fighter had enjoyed adult success in South Africa and at the prestigious Haringey Cup but claims the goal was always the Intermediates and to win a senior title at the National Stadium.

“This is my first Irish senior win. The other two were really warm ups for this one. You always want to win your own National title so I am delighted.”

“I was unlucky with my last National title at under 18s [v Jordan Myers in 2017]. I thought I won it, but that’s boxing. It was a great fight and it could have went either way. You are disappointed when you don’t get it, so it’s nice to come back and win one at senior level,” he added before reflecting on the fight itself.

“It was a good fight. I am still getting used to things without to headguard, to be honest. I think that is just my ninth fight without it. He is awkward and a good opponent and a good southpaw so I am delighted with the win.”

With his father’s pro links the paid ranks is always will always be an option for prospect and, if his support on Friday was anything to go by, he does look to have ticket-selling capabilities.

“The support was brilliant. It was the same last week I had cousins come home from England just to support me. It’s unreal and it does help you especially when you tired and things are tight.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com