Boxing

Paul Hyland jnr determined to bring down the Toon in British title rumble with Lewis Ritson

Lewis Ritson will win the coveted Lonsdale Belt outright with a third defence on Saturday night

PAUL Hyland jnr is determined to bring down the Toon in his British title rumble with Lewis Ritson on Saturday night.

Hyland jnr travels to Newcastle or a crack at Geordie favourite Ritson's lightweight title and the unbeaten fighters lock horns at the Metro Radio Arena. Ritson (15-0 with nine stoppage wins) is expected to win the third defence of his title and win the Lonsdale belt outright.

But Hyland (18-0 with seven early wins) has trained long and hard for this fight and it's an opportunity he has earned after making his way up the rankings ladder with a series of impressive wins against all-comers. He admits he's the outsider in the fight, but ‘Hylo' has gone on the road before and won and intends to do it again this weekend.

“Yes I'm the underdog,” he said.

“He's defended the belt twice so he's definitely the favourite especially in his home town.

“But there's no pressure on me and I've went away before and won so it doesn't faze me, I'm confident of what I have to do.”

In his most recent outing, Ritson made short work of former British champion Scott Cardle who came out blazing but was knocked out in the second round. Ritson, well organised and dedicated, stands tall behind a high guard, has a tight defence and power in both hands.

“Cardle only had three weeks' training because he took the fight at late notice,” Hyland pointed out.

“He knew he wasn't going to do the 12 rounds so he went all out to try and take him out in the first round. He caught him a few and he definitely rocked him but he didn't have the power to put him away.

“Ritson is a tough competitor and he knew what he had to do. He sucked it up when Cardle came at him and he had fought four weeks' before that when he stopped Joe Murray.

“I've had a full camp for this one and I'm feeling good. I know he's going to come at me again, he's going to expect to take me out but we'll see how he is when it's put back on his chin.”

Gleann ABC-based stylist Hyland won the IBF European Lightweight title in June last year and defended that strap against Dubliner Jono Carroll in October.

Hyland dominated the first half of the fight, boxing superbly and had Carroll down early before his jaw was broken in a clash of heads. Carroll came on strong over the final six rounds, but Hyland held on to take the win.

That gruelling experience will have done him no harm at all going into Saturday night's fight and he knows he'll have to drag Ritson into the later rounds and rip the title out of his hands.

“I'm in good shape,” he said.

“I've been in full training and I've put in a hard camp, I'm feeling fitter and stronger than I ever have. I've been sparring well, I've had some cracking spars, and I'm just looking forward to putting it all into action on Saturday night.

“I've always fought whoever's been put in front of me no matter who it was.

“I've never backed out of any fight and I've been chasing a title for a while now. The titles always seemed to bypass me but Mark (Dunlop) got the fights, got the eliminators and I made myself the mandatory challenger.

“Both of us are undefeated and now we're going to go head-to-head and see who wins it on the night. Whoever wants it more is going to win it.”

He doesn't have to go too far to find inspiration. Stablemate James Tennyson took out Matchroom golden boy” Martin J Ward in May.

“James is a mate of mine, we train together and he was a big underdog against Ward,” Hyland explained.

“Everybody thought Ward was going to box the ears off him and win handy but James dug deep and did what he had to do. He got dropped early but he showed his heart; he showed he wanted it more than Ward.

“Ritson and Ward are two of Eddie Hearn's golden boys. James took out Ward and now it's up to me to take out Ritson. I beat him and it'll bring me up into the top 10 in the world rankings, so I've everything to fight for.

“I'm confident. People are saying ‘they're scared of Ritson' but I'm a boxer, I've been brought up fighting. This what I want, I want to fight the best and he's number one in the British so I'm going to take him out.”

LUKE Jackson has begun a 10-week training camp ahead of his (still unconfirmed) Windsor Park rumble with Carl Frampton.

When contacted by The Irish News yesterday, ‘Action Jackson' didn't confirm he would be Frampton's next opponent, but it will be a surprise if the 33-year-old unbeaten featherweight from Hobart, Tasmania isn't the man in the opposite corner on August 18.

It isn't the world title fight and Jackson isn't the high profile opponent Frampton had hoped to attract, but Jackson, ranked number five by the WBO, is the Asian and Oceanic champion and he will come to win at Windsor.

Frampton says confirmation of his Windsor Park dream “means the world” to him.

“It's something I've dreamed about for a long time,” he said.

“I feel it should've happened last year but it's happening now.

“I'd rather it was a world title but nobody's to blame – all the champions have recently fought and Warrington beating Selby threw a spanner in the works because Selby would've taken the fight.

“I've loads left. My last performance was the second best of my career after the first Leo Santa Cruz fight. I feel like I'm enjoying it more and while I'm still performing, I'll do it as long as I can.

“It's great to have Tyson Fury on the undercard. To have someone of his stature on the undercard is massive and he'll be up against a more serious opponent this time so it's good for everyone.”

Meanwhile, after beating Albanian cruiserweight Sefer Seferi on Saturday night, Fury was his usual whirl of contradictions insisting Warren serve up a 7ft 2in opponent for his next bout - or alternatively, a man with one leg - and pouring scorn on the rest of his heavyweight rivals.

Fury said: "Whoever they pick it doesn't matter - they're all the same. They're all bums anyway - Wilder, Joshua, Parker - they're all s***. They're all the same as Manuel Sefer, or whatever his name is."

From the moment Fury lifted Seferi off his feet during the pre-fight weigh-in, it was clear his comeback was unlikely to go down in the heavyweight annals, and Seferi duly obliged.

After four rounds in which Fury grinned and gloated - at one point earning a stern telling-off from referee Phil Edwards for his showboating - Seferi, who had barely thrown a punch in anger, declared he had had enough.

While Warren questioned whether Seferi could have a portion of his purse withheld for his feeble effort, Fury shrugged off the unsatisfactory ending, insisting he had enjoyed every minute of his ring return.

"I did a bit of dancing, threw a couple of punches and it was just about getting back to being under the lights again - it's been a long time," he added.

"I'm not going to say I wasn't nervous, coming back and being the main event. But I wouldn't change a thing. I'll go home tonight and have a pizza and then I'll get back on it. I'll be world champion by the end of the year."

Promoter Warren will plan a more cautious approach, easing Fury back into action through a number of low-key bouts before most likely targeting the reigning WBA 'regular' champion, Manuel Charr.

As he targets a return to the big-time he briefly left after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko so memorably in November 2015, Fury will surely have no more nights quite so farcical as his triumph over Seferi.

On the undercard, Manchester's Terry Flanagan failed to emulate his hero Ricky Hatton as a two-weight world champion when he lost a bid for the vacant WBO super-lightweight title.

Flanagan, who was cut badly from the seventh round onwards, dropped a split decision to American Maurice Hooker which was remarkable for its inconsistency: two judges scored 117-111 either way, while a third favouring Hooker by a much more realistic 115-113.

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