Patrick Hyland Promises Great Show Against Gary Russell Jr In WBC Title Clash

Recently I caught up with Irish featherweight contender Patrick ‘The Punisher’ Hyland who challenges American Gary Russell Jr next month for the WBC featherweight championship of the world.


The fight takes place on April 16th at the Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket in Connecticut, USA and Patrick (31-1-15KO) told me everything is going spot on at the moment in preparation:

“Training’s going great, feeling super, feeling fantastic, feeling confident and ready to take home the WBC belt and be the 2nd Irish man to do it in history.”

Gary Russell Jr (26-1-15KO) is a talented operator within the business, only ever losing to the technically brilliant Vasyl Lomachenko on a close decision, and Patrick has a healthy level of respect for him:

“Honestly I think he’s a fantastic fighter, he has great hand speed, he’s a great boxer and him being a southpaw is even better for himself, for us orthodox fighters the harder it is for us to fight them. I have to be in the best shape of my life and my gameplan has to be 100% to beat him on the night and I’m working hard on that.”

I wanted to know if Patrick felt like this world title shot was coming at the right time in his life, after an extensive career to date. He enthused to me that it was:

“I’m 32 now, this is my 12th year as a professional, I know I have not had the longest of competitive runs from falling out with a promotional team, to the passing of my father, stuff like that over the last two years. I’ve only had 4 fights but I’ve been in the gym. I’ve been training, I’ve been sparring with top guys. I’m always training, I’m always fit but it was just the lack of fights I was getting in that went against me.”

On his experience gained so far, he added:

“I feel with the experience I’ve had of been in the gym, sparring and the fights I’ve had, after losing to (Javier) Fortuna I learned from that. I’m looking forward to putting all my experience and ring craft that I’ve had over the last 12 years into effect this fight to win the belt.”

(Here’s a clip posted by UFC star Conor McGregor’s trainer John Kavanagh, showing Patrick sparring with McGregor in the cage one time in Dublin):

Our cross country Irish phone chat from Cork to Dublin then moved to what Patrick expects on the night when he gets in the ring with the American:

“I’m a lot taller than him. I definitely have a longer reach than him and I’ll be using it to my advantage in the first few rounds anyway to keep him at distance, you know what he’s like with his hand speed and his quick movement. I’ll be feeling him out with that kind of stuff but it could also be good for him, as I actually like fighting taller guys, so it could work to his advantage. I won’t be going in there all guns blazing, I’m working on a gameplan and if it doesn’t work I’ll take him into a row and see how he likes that.”

Patrick is no stranger to fighting in the States after living and fighting there already, and he felt it will stand him in good stead for his upcoming world title showdown in Connecticut:

“I lived in New York for a couple of years and I was training with Tracy Patterson, who was a fantastic trainer and a fantastic bond we had. One of the hardest things with the contract issues in the past over there is that I had to fly home. When my dad was alive I’d train with my dad here (Dublin) and I’d go out to Tracy for a couple of weeks at a time. This time now I’m training with Paschal Collins full-time, and I’ll just go out there a week before hand and I’ll do my full training camp in Ireland. The training here with Paschal is top class as well.”

The Dubliner also mentioned to me that his sparring has been bang on ahead of the biggest fight of his boxing career, paying tribute in particular to his talented stablemates in Ireland’s Celtic Warrior Gym – ran by renowned trainer Paschal Collins:

“I’m working with Stephen Carroll and Jono Carroll at the moment. Jono has been my sparring partner for this fight. He’s fantastic and he’s mimicking what Gary Russell does. He’s bigger than me and has fast hands so it’s everything I need. It keeps my body competitive as well, as watching those boys train makes me want to train even harder.”

As our conversation came to an end Patrick also referred to as Paddy, had this closing message for his supporters ahead of April 16th:

“I love all the support from my hometown in Tallaght. All my friends and family who’ve backed me from day one, I’d like to thank every one of them. For the fans, just tune in for a great show and hopefully I bring home the title. I want to thank them all for their support.” 

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