“It won’t stop me” – Paul Hyland Jr vows to return from Lewis Ritson loss

Paul Hyland Jr [18(7)-1(1)] won’t let his first career defeat get him down and has vowed to come back from his first-round stoppage loss to Lewis Ritson.

The Lagmore lightweight was dropped three times in the opening round of his British title challenge in Newcastle on Saturday night.

While obviously disappointed, Hyland has taken a mature view to his defeat by the ‘Geordie Golovkin’.

The fighter who turned 28 the day after the defeat admits the writing was on the wall following two unfortunate instances – a head clash and a cuffing shot to the back of the head.

Hyland described how “as soon as I got caught, I got caught on the back of the head, and when he hit me on the back of the head, my legs, they’d never went like that, they were just completely dead.”

“I tried to move my toes but they were just too heavy so I just stood and fought. I thought I may as well, you know the heart of me, it was just ‘fuck you, let’s go’.”

“I got up and my left leg, both just collapsed, just pure dead. I couldn’t really bounce my toes so I just stood and just started winging at him. My punches were just bouncing off him though, he’s so solid.”

Hyland paid tribute to his rising foe who today had a new five-fight deal with Matchroom confirmed having won and retained the Londsdale belt with four knockouts in record time.

Of Ritson, Hylo said that “he was solid, I take nothing away from him, he was strong, I’ve never been hit by someone that strong. I don’t think it’s like he has one big knockout punch, it’s every punch, every punch is solid. He was hitting me with jabs and they were solid.”

“I was taking them and trying to move but then there was the head clash. My head’s all marked, and one hit me to the back of the head, I just blanked out for a couple of seconds, I didn’t even know what happened.”

Hyland finished the clash at the Metro Radio Arena on his feet, rising instantly following his third trip to the canvas.

Indeed, the only thing hurt on Saturday night was his pride.

“I was alright to continue on, my legs were just jelly though,” Hyland lamented.

“That’s why I was a bit raging though, because it was the first round. There was only seven seconds left, I was alright to continue, I would have liked to see the first round out.”

“I knew he was going to be strong for the first four or five rounds, I was expecting that, I was expecting him to be solid but, just, bang, that’s boxing.”

For now, a few weeks in the sun are in order but Hyland knows his career is far from over and big domestic fights remain.

With Ritson set to vacate, and with Anthony Crolla, Ricky Burns, and even Tommy Coyle all perhaps seen as ‘beyond’ domestic level fights, the division is wide open. Along with Hyland, Scotty Cardle, Masher Dodd, Robbie Barrett, and Craig Evans are rebuilding from losses and there is plenty of scope for big fights.

“It won’t stop me,” promised Hyland. “I’ll come back better, I just got caught with a shot there, I’ll come back again.”

“As Mark [Dunlop, manager] said to me, ‘if you’re going to lose, you may as well lose to someone who is special’. He’s just won the belt outright, there’s no shame in losing to a lad like that.”

“It’s up to Mark, whoever he puts in front of me, I’ll fight. I’m just the fighter and I’ll fight anyone.”


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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