Hyland hoping to edge closer to Euro title glory

EDDIE HYLAND, after his points win over Oisín Fagan in a thrilling Irish title fight earlier this year, returns to an old haunt when he tops the bill on the “Best of the Irish” show at the National Stadium, tonight.

Hyland will be bidding for his 14th victory from 15 professional fights when he takes on the seasoned Bulgarian, Kirkor Kirkorov, over eight rounds.

Tonight’s programme under the DolPhil banner is the first of five professional shows in Ireland over a five-week five week spell to make it the busiest period ever for Irish professional boxing. The schedule includes Andy Lee’s return to Limerick on November 14 and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan’s Irish title fight with Ciaran Healy in Cork at the end of November.

Hyland’s only loss came at the hands of Stephen Mullin in Liverpool six years ago and since then the Dubliner, the oldest of three fighting brothers, has enjoyed a winning streak that extends back over nine fights.

Now he wants to move on to greater things: “I’m ready to move on to a higher level — it’s time now to start thinking about going for the European title, and another win here can be a step in that direction,” he insisted.

Don O’Leary, the Cork businessman who heads DolPhil promotions along with Philip Sutcliffe, former two time European bronze medallist and winner of four Irish titles, says they want to bring top class boxing to the Irish public at a price they can afford and he appealed to fans to get behind the promotion.

“We are putting on smaller shows for supporters and boxers alike at great expense,” he said. “If we were in it for the money, we’d have run a mile by now. People complain that there are no marquee opponents for our fighters, but we are a fledgling promotional outfit. If we get people behind us who come to our shows and pack the place out, Phil and I will be able to build on that and make stronger cards every time. You have to walk before you can run.

“We want to make a deal with the fight public. Come to see what we have to offer and we’ll keep our prices down. The most expensive ticket is €50, while a family ticket costs €55. That entitles two adults to bring two children under 16 to the National Stadium. The gallery seats are €20 while children under 16 get in for €10. That is great value to see the next generation of Irish stars.”

Fans will be treated by a renewal of hostilities between Dublin middleweights Robbie Long and Anthony Fitzgerald. The pair produced a thriller at the City West Hotel nine months ago when referee Paul McCullagh judged Long a 58-56 winner, and the action was so good that this time an extra two rounds have been added.

His promoter/manager, Gary Hyde, has predicted that his unbeaten Cuban bantamweight, Alexei Acosta, will be ready to fight for a world title after 16 fights or so and tonight will be one of those when the 21-year-old who won a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Agidir in Morocco three years ago and has been based in Cork since defecting just over a year ago, takes on Ricardo Tanase from Romania. Acosta has won all his bouts to date inside three rounds. Tonight’s fight is over a schedule eight.

Eddie Hyland’s victim three months ago, Oisín Fagan, returned to winning ways on the Bernard Dunne title fight undercard at the O2 and will be back in action tonight against London southpaw, Johnny Greaves, while Limerick featherweight, Willie “Big Bang” Casey who made a successful debut in Killarney 12 months ago will meet Stoyen Serbezov over six rounds.

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