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Dublin: 5°C Sunday 28 February 2021

Dubliner Hyland heading to US ’ready to shock the world' in world title bout

The WBC world featherweight title will be on the line when Hyland goes in against Gary Russell Jr on Saturday week.

PATRICK HYLAND INSISTS he has full confidence in boxing’s medical safeguards ahead of his world-title challenge, claiming he is undeterred by recent events that saw former British champion Nick Blackwell placed in an induced coma following a recent bout.

Dubliner Hyland takes on Washington native Gary Russell Jr on Saturday week in Connecticut with the WBC world featherweight title on the line.

Patrick Hyland File photo: Hyland weighing in for a 2014 bout in Dublin. Source: Clive O'Donohoe/INPHO

Showtime will screen the bout in the US with live Sky Sports coverage in Ireland and the UK as Hyland bids to follow in the footsteps of Wayne McCullough by becoming only the second Irishman to ever hold the illustrious ‘green belt’ also worn by the likes of Azumah Nelson, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Naseem Hamed.

The 32-year-old Jobstown native, who carries a 31-1 record, is a 10/1 underdog against stylish champion Russell (26-1), but Hyland insists he can cause a surprise while avoiding punishment in what the bookies expect to be a one-sided fight.

“I feel like I’m ready to shock the world,” said Hyland.

“I always say to myself and I say to my wife as well, ‘what’s the worst that can happen in a fight that doesn’t go well?’ I get put on my arse, the fight’s over,” added the Dubliner, who dismissed renewed calls for boxing to be banned or face stricter regulation after Blackwell was placed in an induced coma following his bruising middleweight loss to Chris Eubank Jr last month.

Blackwell had suffered sustained punishment for 10 rounds of that bout, with many pundits claiming the fight should have been stopped earlier. The 25-year-old this week emerged from his coma and is believed to have shown encouraging signs of recovery.

“Put it this way, I’ve been a professional 12 years, I’ve never been hurt, I’ve never been dropped, I’ve never been rocked,” said Hyland when quizzed on the dangers of the sport.

You work on your defence. They [critics] say, ‘you’re barbaric people going in there fighting’, but we train for 10-12 hard weeks to fight against a guy knowing what he’s good at, so I work on my defence so I don’t get hurt in the fight.

“Of course, we’re hitting each other and hurting each other but we get proper medicals done and we get looked after, our brains and heads are examined all the time,” continued the Dubliner.

“We have physicals to see how we are. I always say to myself in an arena with thousands of people there, the two most honest guys are the two guys fighting each other.

“They [medics] are there on the night… you see what happened to Nick Blackwell, he was brought straight out and looked at straight away,” added Hyland. “He was put into the induced coma so there’s people there to look after you.”

Safety measures

Outside of the ring, the former Irish champion works for a glazing company and he believes there are many other day-to-day jobs more dangerous than his ring trade.

“The job [boxing] is no dangerous than the other [glazing] job I’m doing now where I can slice the hand off myself,” said the featherweight.

“People get killed on [industrial] sites. There’s safety measures there, and it’s the same in boxing,” added Hyland, who will undergo further pre-fight medicals in Connecticut next week.

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Ciarán Gallagher

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