Rust shook, chin checked, gameplan set – Paul Hyland Jr ready for Ritson


Paul Hyland Jr [18(7)-0] can now focus on Lewis Ritson and gifting himself an early 28th birthday present with victory in Newcastle on June 16th.

‘Hylo’ knows Matchroom’s latest favourite won’t giftwrap the British title for him but, having stopped David Birmingham at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night, he is happy he can now give the British champion his full attention.

The Belfast fighter, who has a birthday the day after what could prove a career-changing fight, has been linked with the Geordie since the turn of the year and is well aware of his talents. However, when telling the press he was confident he can beat his Newcastle counterpart after extending his unbeaten run, he did so with real conviction.

It’s not that the fighter who is trained by his father doesn’t believe the Ritson hype – instead, he has a deep belief that he can steal the spotlight which currently surrounds the Matchroom fighter at present.

“It’s June 16th now, the day before my birthday, so it will be a nice present to get that Lonsdale belt for my birthday. I will take a break until Wednesday. I trained for a 10 round fight before the mix up of opponent. So I’ll take a break until Wednesday and then I am back into it,” Hyland said.

“I think Ritson is a brilliant boxer. I won’t under rate him he is a cracking talent. He is getting bigged up by the media everywhere, he is the next big thing, but I am confident of beating him,” added Hyland, who feels he has seen chinks in the Northerner’s armour.

“I watched the [Scott] Cardle fight, Cardle took it on short notice and went in to trample him out, but he had less time to prepare and he blew out in the second round. I have a game plan in mind, I won’t say what it is, but I am really confident of beating him.”

Ritson was always a subplot to the build-up to the weekend’s fight – which was initially due to be against Floyd Moore – but the entertaining Lagmore lightweight wasn’t paying lip service when said he couldn’t look past replacement Birmingham and Saturday’s bill topper.

The manner in which the ever-entertaining puncher started the clash was a testament to that. The MHD fighter certainly wasn’t worried about cuts or injury and was never going to try and coast to victory despite a massive opportunity on the horizon.

It was guns blazing from the off and the smile that sporadically decorated Hyland’s face suggested he, like his loyal following, was loving the all-action encounter. However, he intelligently noted after the proceedings that possibly the best way to get a tough and game Birmingham out of there was to slow down and mix some skill with spite.

Hyland outlined how “it was all about tonight. I know there was a change of opponent, but, at the end of the day, it was about keeping that 0 and taking out whoever was in front of me.

“I was trying a bit too hard to put away at the start. I knew I was hurting from the start.

“My Dad did say to me ‘you’re trying too hard’. I was over eager and I was loading up too much. I started to feel my power zapping a little because I was trying too much, but Dad told me to box him, that I was too good for him and he could never touch me. So then I began boxing and I was in and out.”

“That is what his coach said after, that once I start boxing him in the fourth round I was just too much for him and I was hurting him so he had to take him out,” he added before stressing his team did have Ritson somewhat in mind before going into clash.

“My Dad did say if I can get the job done no injuries and that do it and Mark [Dunlop] said ‘get a few rounds and settle into it’ – but it’s just me, I went to blast him out. It was working, I was hurting him but it was sort of the wrong tactics to finish him. When I started boxing I just took him out.”

“Tonight was the main focus and now I can switch my focus on Ritson and I have nine weeks now to get as fit as I can and take him on.”

Considering a massive British title fight was confirmed, and with the Moore pull out as well as a number of unfortunate undercard withdrawals, no one would have criticized promoter Dunlop for pulling the card. However, it seems it was essential ‘Hylo’ got some rounds in before he travels to challenge for the Lonsdale belt – not only because of potential ring rust, but to give him peace of mind with regard to how well his jaw has healed since he broke it against Stephen Ormond last October.

The Commonwealth Youth bronze medalist described how “that’s me back from October now. You always have a wee bit of ring rust even in sparring. I was sparring with good lads before this fight, but fighting is a different game.”

“It was good to take a few shots on the jaw and I took a headbutt too. I was sparing with Ryan Burnett and a few others but that is with head guards on. That was without headguards and with eight ounce gloves so I know the jaw is fine now. It was in mind when I was sparring and you can’t even focus, but I am over it now everything is good.”

Photo Credit – Chris Scott (AMMG Media)
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