Hyland brothers spearhead Irish boxing renaissance.
I think that most aficionados would agree that boxing in Ireland is hot at the moment with it’s sell out shows in Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Dublin, all of which are once again entertaining the local crowds.
But what many are asking is whether or not the sport’s new and returning fans are seeing real quality or are they just worshiping false idols.
The 1980s brought world titles for Barry McGuigan and Dave McAuley and indeed there was no doubting the Irish class of the mid 1990s. But then came a very noticeable lull, a long period of drought during which there was very little to celebrate.
Over the past two years, however, there has been renewed hope and excitement over a new breed of Irish pugilists where John Duddy, Andy Lee and Bernard Dunne have put boxing back on the map in the Emerald Isle. But it is one family more than most that we must acknowledge, the Hyland clan from Dublin, father Paddy and his three sons, Edward, Paulie and Paddy jnr.
Paddy senior is the coach and trainer of the three bothers all of whom are described as ‘real scrappers’ providing ‘fabulous value for money performances every time they step into the ring’. Two of the brothers, Paddy jnr and Paulie, spent the last fortnight in Torrevieja preparing for their upcoming trips to the USA. Their trip, the first I am told of many, was sponsored by Five Star Cars in Los Montesinos. Both fight on a bill that they jointly top in Boston in less than two weeks time, Paddy in a feather weight contest against New York’s Gary Stark jnr and Paul against Chicago’s Ivan Rodriguez at super bantamweight.
“We have both been working extremely hard” Paddy told the Leader. “Our daily schedule includes a morning run on La Mata beach, gym work and weights during the day and sparring at the Daya Nuevo Boxing Club in the evening”. “But it’s been a great experience” his brother Paulie continued. “We have both been able to work with top local trainer Alberto Gonzalez and European Super Bantamweight Champion Kiko Martinez. It’s been a terrific experience and they have both been a great help”.
Of course it is not only the Irish pair that will have benefited from their time training with Kiko. As the European champion prepares for his upcoming title defence against British number two Rendall Munroe in Nottingham on Friday night he too will have been grateful for the opportunity to work with two top class boxers. Leicester fighter 27 year old Munroe has said that by the end of the year he will hold the British, European and Commonwealth titles. The plucky midlander is confident that the defeat of Martinez will just be the first rung on his ladder toward the three titles.
Martinez, 21, looked deadly when he smashed undefeated Bernard Dunne to a one-round defeat in Dublin in the summer and the Daya Nueva fighter will start as a big favourite to retain his title against the dangerous 27-year-old former British featherweight title challenger. The fight will be broadcast live on Sky TV on Friday evening.
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