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“Fresher” Paul Hyland Jr ready to take over from Stephen Ormond

Paul Hyland Jr [16(6)-0] takes a big step up on Saturday night, but the Belfast fighter feels he has what it takes to prove that he is Ireland’s number one lightweight.

The Lagmore man takes on Clondalkin’s Stephen Ormond on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast, live on Sky Sports.

Hyland’s star has exploded over the past year with breakout wins over Peter Cope and Adam Dingsdale, while Ormond has lost to Zoltan Szabo, later avenged, and Craig Evans.

‘Hylo’ believes now is his opportunity to take over from 34 year old Ormond [24(13)-4(1)] as Ireland’s premier lightweight and that the time is right for a passing of the guard.

Two quiet men, there won’t be any trash-talk between the pair at tomorrow’s press conference, and 27 year old Hyland acknowledges the test before him.

However the Belfast war-lover feels ready to rule the roost on the island and believes he will prove so in the IBF East/West Europe title clash at the weekend.

“He’s definitely my toughest opponent to date,” said Hyland. “I respect what he’s done and am expecting a tough fight but it’s my time to take over now.”

“I’ve respect for Stephen, he has a great name in boxing, he’s made a great name for himself and fought at world level.”

“He’s had an up and down couple of years but there’s no doubt he’s boxed at a higher level than I have at present. It’s a good measuring stick for me to get in and see where I am at.”

“I’m going up there now, obviously he has more experience than me, but I feel like I’m a bit fresher as a fighter.”

While the fight is between the top two active Irish lightweights, the green belt will not be on the line as had previously been announced.

A licensing dispute between Hyland’s manager Mark Dunlop and the Boxing Union of Ireland saw the governing body retract their authorisation of the title fight.

Although the belt won’t be on the line, the winner on Saturday night will undoubtedly be known as Ireland’s best.

The lack of an Irish title on the line is disappointing for Hyland who previously saw proposed title clashes with Michael Devine and Gearoid Clancy fall through.

The Gleann boxer admitted that “I was bit disappointed the Irish title couldn’t be on the line. I’m an Irish boxer and it’s a thing you want, that green belt over your shoulder.”

“For whatever reason I’ve had a lot of possible fights fall through for it over the last two years, it’s just not meant for me.”

“Whoever wins will be known as the best. I think he’s number one in Ireland at the minute and I’m number two, it’s the two top lightweights going head to head.”


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie