Paul Hyland Jr eyes second British title fight following encouraging comeback win


Paul Hyland Jr [19(7)-1(1)] wants to get straight back into the mix and is hopeful he will get a second shot at the British title early next year.

The Belfast lightweight was stopped by Lewis Ritson, a fighter who won the British title outright with four straight knockouts and went from a relative unknown to a bill-topping European title challenger in 12 months, back in June in Newcastle.

The popular Lagmore fighter returned in Dublin on Saturday night and, after passing a relatively tough comeback test, is adamant he doesn’t need a long rebuild.

The 28-year-old, who dropped and outpointed game Mexican Giovanny Martinez over six, hinted at a possible second British title tilt early next year, quite possibly on the undercard of Ryan Burnett’s WBSS semi-final if the Belfast bantam overcomes Nonito Donaire in November. 

Ritson is the current titleholder but is expected to vacate soon – potentially to be added to the Joe Cordina v Sean Cardle Commonwealth title fight in November. Then there is Andy Townend who won an eliminator versus Henry James on Friday night while Gavin Gwynne and Myron Mills will box in another eliminator later this month.

Regardless of what happens next, Hyland didn’t want to be eased back in on the Assassin show at the National Basketball Arena and was delighted he got six rounds in against a tough fighter.

“Mark [Dunlop, manager] said there was no point in getting a boy that will just fall over and I agreed. That was exactly what I wanted. I wanted six rounds and I wanted to get straight back into it,” Hyland told Irish-Boxing.com when, as always, he eventually finished taking pictures with his loyal following.

“I want them big fights again. I know Matchroom are saying possibly after Christmas. The British title is still open and hopefully I get can another shot. Straight back into is the best way,” he added before showing a real mature outlook to his sole career defeat.

“I think [Ritson] could be something special. There is no shame getting beat by him. I was disappointed in myself. I just didn’t get started and I am better than that but I have no shame in losing to him.”

“Who else wins a British title outright in four rounds? It won’t stop me from coming back and trying to achieve what I believe I can.”

Hyland has often talked about being drawn into a scrap but for those who have followed his career from the start it’s become obvious he is the war instigator.

The fighter, who is trained by his father of the same name, loves nothing more than to duke it out toe to toe. However, the man who has been in more wars than Napoleon, took a more strategic approach to boxing warfare against the Mexican in Tallaght.

It wasn’t display of a boxing skill set that was encouraging – Hyland has shown he is accomplished in this sense before – rather the fact he enjoyed outsmarting his foe, which suggests as he moves back up the ladder he may be trusted to fight smart when needed.

“You know yourself, I always get pulled into a fight and then I am fighting a Mexican, you’d think what other way can you have it than a scrap,” Hyland explained.

“I just wanted to box him. In the last round I kinda pushed it and put it on him but I boxed him. I wanted to show him I can have it that way too but, looking back, now that allowed him to get some success.

“Honestly, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed slipping and then catching him. I had the hands down and I was punishing him for mistakes.”

“Even the shot I dropped him with, I kind of planned it mid-fight. I drew him onto it. I was jabbing and when I threw the right hand he was leaning and throwing a wild right hand of his own. I seen that, so when he was coming back I caught him with the left hook, he didn’t see it and it put him down.”

“I was going to rush in but he is Mexican!” laughed Hyland. “There was no point I could see he wasn’t too bad and it was a chance to box more.”

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

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