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Paul Hyland Jr wants opportunity to win belt back from Robbie Barrett

Paul Hyland Jr [19(7)-1(1)] would be more than happy to fight former British Champion Robbie Barrett at the Ulster Hall on February 9th.

The Belfast lightweight fights for the first time as a pro at the traditional home of Belfast boxing alongside James Tennyson, Tommy McCarthy, Feargal McCrory, Luke Wilton, and new addtion Mathew Fitzsimons in the first confirmed Irish show of 2019.

The bill’s promoter, Mark Dunlop, has suggested opponents of note will occupy the away corner for all fights and Barrett [17(1)-3(1)-1] was mentioned as a potential Hyland foe.

At the time, it was unsure as to whether the MHD boss was mentioning the Yorkshire southpaw, who has also been called out by Gary Cully, as a possible February 9th foe or as an opponent for later in 2019.

However, ‘Hylo’ claims he would be more than happy to take on the English fighter next – especially seeing as Barrett now holds the IBF European belt that once adorned the Irishman’s waist.

“That’s a cracking fight,” Hyland admits.

“[The IBF] wanted me to defend their European title withing two fights but I fought the guy David Bermingham [in an eight rounder] as a warm up for Ritson so they stripped me of it and Barrett won it there recently [v Matty Fagan in October].”

“Ritson beat me and Ritson beat him, it would be a great fight. I would be happy enough with that whenever it suits. Mark has a plan for me so I don’t when, but I don’t care once I have notice to get a full camp in.”

If the Barrett fight doesn’t come off, Hyland still wants a name for a show that brings pro boxing back to the Ulster Hall for the first time in over six years – and is hoping for a big 2019.

“Hopefully I get a big fight,” continued the 28-year-old.

“There will be no small fights on this show. That is what I want. I want to get straight back into it.”

“Listen, I am 28 now, I don’t want sit about for too long. There are good fights there.”

“Boxing is not a long career, you may as well get what you can out of it now. Why wait another couple of years for these fights when you can get them on now.”

“I am ready, I am going to train hard for them and it’s not the end of me.”

As Hyland pointed out, he, like Barrett, suffered defeat in a British title fight at the gloves Newcastle’s Lewis Ritson. Barrett has bounced back to pick up the minor IBF ranking title and the Lagmore favourite is adamant he can do the same.

Indeed, Hyland, who is trained by his namesake father, is adamant he will get another chance at domestic level and claims he can take it next time round.

“[Ritson] is one of the biggest names in British boxing and it was a chance for me and a title I always wanted. I was a big underdog and I went in and gave it my chance, I gave it my all, it’s unfortunate.”

“The chance is always still there. I tried, I failed, but I can always come again, and I will come back again.”

“It can affect boxers mentally and physically, but I didn’t let it affect me. It wasn’t like I lost to a bum, I lost to a big name, I tried” he adds of the defeat.

The lightweight put some distance between him and his sole career defeat thanks to a performance where he consciously put some distance between himself and his opponent.

Hyland outboxed Giovanni Martinez back in October in Dublin to return to winning ways.

The recent British title challenger ditched his warring ways to use his underrated skillset and, not only did he reveal he enjoyed the more considered approach, says he will employ it more in 2019.

“I was straight back into the training and I fought Martinez. He was tough and strong, but I went back to my boxing and I enjoyed it. I boxed well, I was was happy in camp boxing.”

“I outboxed him for six rounds and I done well and kept the head. I was boxing and trying not to get hit with shots. I enjoyed it, so I did. That’s what I want to do next year.”

“People say the reason Ritson caught me was because I was trading with him, but in my mind my left leg was numb so I couldn’t move much. It was the only thing to do, I stood and fought.”

“I’m going to definitely stick to my boxing more now. I know I do get hit with some stupid shots but I have been boxing now and enjoying it.”


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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 sports for a living for over 20 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