Exclusive: Hyland talks next opponent Warrington, crazy Leeds crowd and world title shot
Lee Gormley | July 9, 2016
Hyland speaks to Coral ahead of Leeds bout
Since turning professional back in 2004, Irish fighter Patrick Hyland has enjoyed a captivating career, and the Dubliner is preparing for the next exciting chapter against Josh Warrington on July 30th.
The 32-year-old will take to the First Direct Arena in Leeds hoping to enjoy a successful night in front of 13k fans and the Sky Sports cameras, as he contests home fighter and Yorkshire favourite Warrington (23-0, 4 KOs) for the WBC international featherweight title.
Born in the Tallaght area, Hyland (31-2, 15 KOs) has battled his way from being a young, hopeful Irish champion to an experienced world title challenger in the 126lbs division, and recently took time out from his busy training schedule to speak exclusively to Coral.
Experienced ‘Punisher’ confident of success
Nicknamed ‘The Punisher’, Hyland will arrive in Leeds for his first match-up in the UK since 2011, when he outpointed Frenchman Daniel Kodjo Sassou at the Olympia in London, and believes his grafted boxing background will give him a huge boost come fight night.
Hyland made his pro debut in September 2004 at the City West Hotel in his native Dublin, on the undercard of a bill which featured former fighter Jim Rock, the only boxer to have held the Irish title at four different weight classes.
Since overcoming Britain’s Dean Ward on points across four rounds in that maiden outing, Hyland has gone from strength to strength, claiming the Irish featherweight title in 2008 with victory over Paul Griffin, and then IBF international crown a year later.
Two years after that triumph, the iron-chinned Dubliner made a daunting move to the United States to link up with Final Round Promotions, and what followed was plenty of success on American soil, which Hyland is sure will help him come July 30th.
“I feel the 12 years of having been a pro, starting off in England and Ireland and my years in the United States have given me a lot of experience, and I’ll be looking to put all of that all together on the night and get the win,” outlined a confident Hyland, who is 3/1 with Coral to beat Warrington.
Hyland defeated former Manny Pacquiao and Diego Magdaleno opponent Emmanuel Lucero in Atlantic City back in January 2012, earning a comfortable unanimous decision victory, then later that year stopped experienced veteran Frankie Archuleta and outpointed Carlos Fulgencio.
From Las Vegas to Leeds for Dubliner
The big break came in December 2012 when he came up against dangerous Dominican Republic fighter Javier Fortuna for the WBA interim featherweight strap, with Hyland having set a new record for most consecutive wins ever by an Irish fighter up to that point.
Although, a maiden setback came at the hands of Fortuna at the famous MGM Grand in Las Vegas, as he suffered a unanimous points loss on the undercard of Pacquiao’s pay-per-view battle with Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez.
Having fought at some of the sport’s most renowned venues already in his long-standing career, including the aforementioned MGM Grand and Madison Square Garden in New York, Hyland soon faces a different prospect of competing in Leeds.
Though, Hyland has a connection to the area, with many of his relatives and friends being huge Leeds United fans, and he’s relishing performing in front of such passionate fans.
“I’m so looking forward to fighting in Leeds,” Hyland added. “The atmosphere looks amazing on Sky Sports, so I just want to feel what it’s really like to fight there against the king ticket seller [Warrington]!
“I don’t have any relations from area but just loads of my family and friends are big Leeds United fans.”
“It’s a crazy crowd…”
Hyland’s late father was also a Leeds supporter and, despite the fighter himself being a Manchester United follower, he recently admitted he would not be donning the Red Devils’ colours out of respect in front of what he believes is a rapturous crowd.
“Arenas are very different, but I think the atmosphere in Leeds will be something I’ve never felt before, Hyland continued. “It’s a crazy crowd and I’m just looking forward to hearing them, which ever way they threat me, and mix it up with Josh. This is going to be a classic fight.”
Following his first world title fight defeat, Hyland was absent from the sport for 19 months, but returned in fine fashion in 2014 to stop Puerto Rican Noel Echevarria inside four rounds in New York.
Featherweight division booming
A win over Oszkar Fiko back on his home soil in Ireland followed, before victories against Manuel de los Reyes Herrera and David Martinez in the States set up a second world title shot. This time highly-regarded WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr was standing in his way in Connecticut.
Despite being known for possessing a solid chin, Hyland was up against a truly talented American champion, and Russell Jr’s class shone through as he rallied to a second-round knockout, the first time the Irishman had been stopped in 33 fights spanning 12 years.
Boasting a distinguished amateur background, Russell Jr is a rising star in a division which is currently packed with talent, with Hyland’s fellow Irishman Carl Frampton set to collide with WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz on the same weekend as his compatriot.
“Yes the 126 division is really flying at the minute,” admitted Hyland. “The Frampton versus Santa Cruz fight will be a cracking fight. Having been in with Russell Jr, I see him as the best at 126 right now. His hand speed is super and being a southpaw also helps him!”
Respect between Hyland and Warrington
Despite Hyland’s next opponent Warrington being involved in a gruelling 12-round scrap in April, as the Leeds ace eventually earned the judges’ decision against gritty Japanese battler Hisashi Amagasa, the Irishman was impressed.
“I thought he done well and boxed clever against a tall, awkward guy,” added the Dubliner. “Over 12 rounds you’re going to get dragged into a scrap, but I think that will favour me here because I feel I can punch harder than anyone he’s already fought and I love to go to war with people.”
Warrington has long been calling for a world title meeting with IBF champion Lee Selby, and is odds-on 1/4 to overcome Hyland, but the latter Dubliner is keen on another crack at the elite and hasn’t ruled out facing the Welshman himself.
“Yes of course, I’ll be looking for one more shot at a world title again, and if I’m offered Selby I’ll take that no questions asked, or anyone in UK. I’d love to have a few more good exciting fights on Sky at 126 or 130.”
Hyland expects war on July 30th
A move up divisions could also be on the cards for the Tallaght warrior, having contested at featherweight his entire pro career.
“Yes of course I’d consider going up, I’ve been fighting at featherweight since I was 18 years of age, so I’m getting old now! I will be 33 in September, so a move up in weight class might be easier on the body. I could maybe even just jump up to 140,” he said jokingly. “But no, 130 will do.”
Before considering a step up in weight, Hyland is focused on July 30th, when he is expecting an all out war with Warrington and has promised fans an enthralling encounter in Yorkshire territory.
“I think the fans will get to see two guys who respect the hell out of each other, but as soon as the bell rings we will knock the head off each other and may the best man win. Then we will have a chat about it all over a pint afterwards. Once we are both healthy of course.”
In what has already been an exciting career, Hyland will aim to add another successful chapter this month in Leeds, where a potential thriller against Warrington awaits and rich rewards rest on victory for The Punisher.