Paul Hyland determined to rip British title away from champion Lewis Ritson
PAUL Hyland has promised to rip the British title away from Lewis Ritson “with both hands” when they meet at the Metro Arena in Newcastle on June 16.
The unbeaten lightweight pair (Ritson is 15-0, Belfast's Hyland 18-0) have emerged from the small-hall circuit to get their chances in the limelight and ‘Hylo' is determined to bring have the Lonsdale Belt in his luggage when he returns home from the north-east this summer.
“This a title I've been looking to fight for over the past two years,” said Hyland yesterday.
“I've fought everyone that's been put in front of me and I'm here to take this chance with both hands. “I know Lewis is going for his third defence, so he's going to be doing everything to stop me and it'll be a cracking fight.”
He added: “I believe I can be victorious
“My last few fights have been wars so I'll be there for the full 12 rounds and I hope he is as well because it's going to be a tough fight.”
Home favourite Ritson beat Robbie Barrett to win the coveted belt late last year and he has already defended it twice this year – against Joe Murray in February and then Scotty Cardle on March 24.
“It's been a rollercoaster,” he said.
“Hopefully I can keep that going on June the 16th in front of my home fans.
“Paul is an unbeaten fighter, it's a hard fight and it's my toughest test to date. But we'll be ready, I've got a great team and they'll get me ready.
“We can see nothing other than me being victorious so hopefully it'll be a good fight for the fans. We've got the same type of style and we're expecting fireworks.”
Sky Sports will broadcast the Newcastle bill which includes four other title fights including Kris George versus Josh Kelly, Stuart Hall versus Gavin McDonnell and Charlie Edwards against former Jamie Conlan opponent Anthony Nelson.
But Irish eyes will be trained on Hyland-Ritson and a successful third defence will means Ritson gets to keep the belt. Hyland manager Mark Dunlop warned the Geordie – a ferocious trainer who looked well organised and powerful in his win over Cardle – that Hyland will “find a way to win”.
“It will be a fantastic fight,” predicted Dunlop.
“These are two kids who have come up the same way – on the small-hall shows trying to get a breakthrough. They both made their breakthrough on Matchroom shows and they are two up and coming lightweights.
“Lewis is the British champion but, no matter what anyone says or thinks, this is a 50-50 fight because, at this level, there's no such thing as home advantage. Paul has fought everywhere, he's a four-time Irish champion and he has fought in the away corner three times as a pro.
“He always finds a way to win and, come the 16th of June, I can't see it being any different – he will find a way to win.
“The winner will go into the top 10 and you could almost count this as a world title eliminator because there are plenty of opportunities there at lightweight.”
Meanwhile, another of Dunlop's fighters – James Tennyson – will take on Martin J Ward for the EBU and WBA International super-featherweight titles at London's Millennium Dome on May 5.