Saturday 26 May 2018

'Pajo will be motivated to go beyond his comfort zone to win this belt for his late father and his family'

Patrick Hyland, left, exchanges punches with Oskar Fiko
Patrick Hyland, left, exchanges punches with Oskar Fiko

Eamon Carr

Tonight’s the night that, after a lifetime in boxing, Patrick Hyland (32) gets his chance to claim a world title.

The WBC world featherweight belt is held by Gary Russell Jr, a southpaw who reckons he has an advantage over the Dubliner. His coach, father Gary Snr, says: “We’re not sure how many southpaws he’s fought. We plan on capitalising on mistakes that Hyland will make.”

Hyland has done his homework. Speaking from his hotel last night, Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs) said he liked what he saw when he came face-to-face with Russell (26-1, 15 KOs) on Wednesday.

“He’s small so I can use my height and range advantage in the fight,” he said. “I’m ready. I was excited after the press conference and am really looking forward to the Saturday night.”

Promoter Lou DiBella, who lost a brother to depression, told the media: “Patrick Hyland’s story transcends boxing. The past twelve months have been about as emotional and trying and depressing and life-affirming as a year can be in anybody’s life.

“His dad Paddy (54), who was a great boxing guy, had been battling depression unknown to a lot of people. Within weeks of losing his dad to suicide, Pajo’s wife Lorna gave birth to a son which was a blessing for him and his family. This man is a deserving challenger.”

Hearing that Hyland had been trained by his late father, Gary Russell Jr offered his respect. “It’s very hard to bounce back and put in the hard work and deal with the heartache and loss,” he said. “I take my hat off to you.”

But there’ll be no sympathy in Connecticut tonight.

Coach Paschal Collins says: “I  believe Pajo will be motivated to go beyond his comfort zone to win this belt for his late father and his family.”

Herald Sport

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