Paul Hyland jnr all set for Stephen Ormond rumble as Joe Fitzpatrick and Feargal McCrory prepare for Belfast fight night
PAUL Hyland jnr must be a big name in eastern Europe given the number of Hungarians and Bulgarians he has taken out since he turned pro back in 2014.
Three years into his career in the punch for pay ranks, the Belfast lightweight warrior has raced to 16-0 and he gets a deserved chance to make a definitive breakthrough at British level tomorrow night as chief support to Ryan Burnett versus Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena.
Hyland puts his IBF European Lightweight title on the line when he takes on Dubliner Stephen Ormond (24-4) and he intends to grab the chance to shine with both hands and kick on to a possible British title challenge next year.
“I've had some cracking fights and a lot of people are expecting this to be the same,” said Hyland.
“Stephen Ormond loves a war and I love a war so it's going to be a brilliant fight for everyone who'll be watching. For this camp I've done new strength programmes, I've had a nutritionist and I've seen improvements already - my strength has increased, my power has increased and this is easiest I've ever made weight.
“I'm feeling strong, I've done a good camp and I'm ready to rock. I'm excited for Saturday night.”
In 2015, Ormond lost a WBO European Lightweight title rumble against Terry Flanagan for repeated use of his head but topped a bill in Boston early last year and beat Puerto Rican Marcos Jimenez to win the IBF Inter-Continental Lightweight title.
However, the 34-year-old has lost two of his five fights since then and ‘Hylo' warns he could go “straight through him” tomorrow night.
“He'll be in my face, I know he's going to be there,” said Hyland.
“He doesn't take a backward step, he just keeps coming and coming. I can box if I want but I'm going to test out his power at the start and see how it feels and if he's not hurting me I'm gonna go straight through him. If not, I can box on the back foot and pick him off so I've got a few different gameplans and we'll see how it works out on the night.
“It just unfolds when you're in the ring but at the minute I'm excited for it.”
Hyland was also chief support when Ryan Burnett dethroned Lee Haskins to win the IBF title back in June and is thrilled to feature prominently once again.
“Eddie Hearn is very excited about this fight and it's great to be chief support,” he said.
“There are some big names on the show and Josh Kelly and Anthony Fowler who are new boxers coming up to watch out for.”
FEARGAL McCrory (6-0) has refocussed on former Wales amateur star Callum Busuttil (2-0) on Saturday night after scheduled opponent Troy James pulled out.
Someone's ‘0' has got to go tomorrow night and Coalisland super-featherweight McCrory predicts a ding-dong battle against the rangy visitor from Caerphilly on the undercard of Burnett/Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena.
“I would tell the fans to make sure they're watching because it will be a great fight,” predicted the former Tyrone underage footballer.
“It's going to be a very hard fight. He says he doesn't take a step back, well I'm not going to go back, so it's going to be out in the middle of the ring and we'll see how it goes.”
So far in his fledgling career, Busuttil has scored points wins over journeymen Andy Harris and Harvey Hemsley. McCrory will go into the fight as favourite but expects a test in the six-rounder.
“He's dangerous, he won last weekend so he'll be on the crest of a wave,” said the John Breen-trained southpaw.
“He'll be looking to leapfrog me so I have to stay focussed because we only found out about him at the start of the week. We haven't had time to prepare for him, but I'm ready, I just have to adapt and get the gameplan right from the start. I'm expecting a tough fight.”
McCrory's original opponent Troy James had tangled with the likes of Ronnie Clarke and Liam Walsh but McCrory relished the step up in class.
“I was so excited about fighting Troy James, he had fought at a very high level and I would have loved that fight,” he said.
“I hope it happens next because that's the kind of level I want to be at, it brings out the best in me. “The James fight was a genuine, very risky, dangerous fight but I've got him out of my mind now and I'm focussed on Busuttil, I'm expecting a tough fight because he's very dangerous and he has a lot of ambition in boxing. The Welsh are similar to the Irish, they have big hearts.”
AFTER eight months on the sidelines, former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joe Fitzpatrick makes his return to the squared circle at the SSE Arena tomorrow night.
Lightweight southpaw Fitzpatrick, 7-0 so far, gets what looks on paper like a straightforward comeback fight against London-based Zambian novice Mwenya Chisanga (1-1)
“I had a couple of injuries and I was supposed to be on a couple of BoxNations shows and I could pulled out,” said ‘The Dragon' when asked where he's been since his win over Tamas Laska in February.
“I'm back now and ready to go. I was still ticking over in the gym, still training away but it's good to be back on the big show. It's probably one of the biggest shows there's ever been in Belfast.
“I've been doing a lot of sparring in training camp, so I'm not rusty or anything – I'm ready to go and punch ears in.”
Former Immaculata ABC star Fitzpatrick turned over in 2015 and won his first four early before chiselling out his last three on points. Now back in the groove, he is chasing an Irish title showdown in 2018.
“Hopefully I'll get another fight in by the end of the year and then next year I'll hopefully get an Irish title fight,” he said.
“The title is vacant so I don't see why not. There's a lot of lightweights about, Paul Hyland has moved on, but Ciaran McVarnock (Belfast-born and bred and based in Manchester) would be a good scrap.
“It would bring the winner up the ranking a bit so, why not?”
SSE Arena bill
IBF & WBA ‘Super' World Bantamweight title: Ryan Burnett (17-0) v Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1)
IBF East/West Europe Lightweight title: Paul Hyland jnr (16-0) v Stephen Ormond (24-4)
Light-welterweight: Tyrone McKenna (14-0-1) v Renald Garrido (19-16-2)
WBA International Super Featherweight title: James Tennyson (19-2) v Darren Traynor (14-1)
Welterweight: Josh Kelly (3-0) v Jose Luis Zuniga (13-2-1)
Light-middleweight: Anthony Fowler (3-0) v Laszlo Fazekas (31-27-1)
Cruiserweight: Tommy McCarthy (9-1) v Peter Hegyes (8-16)
Lightweight: Gary Cully (1-0) v Josh Thorne (1-10-2)
Super-featherweight: Feargal McCrory (6-0) v Callum Busuttil (2-0)
Lightweight: Joe Fitzpatrick (7-0) v Mwenya Chisanga (1-1)
Lightweight: David Oliver Joyce (3-0) v Andy Harris (3-52-1)