Martinez injury hands Hyland title shot

A rib injury has ruled Kiko Martinez out of his European title showdown with Willie “Big Bang” Casey on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the UL Arena on Saturday, November 6th.

However, Martinez’s loss is Paul Hyland’s gain with the Dubliner now stepping in to meet Casey for the vacant European title in what will be the first ever all-Irish clash for a European title.

Hyland, the reigning Irish super bantamweight champion is optimistic of adding the European belt to his name.

“I didn’t have to think twice about taking the fight and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be European Champion,” he said. “I know it wont be easy and it will probably go the distance but I’ve no doubt my hand will be raised at the end.

Casey and Hyland have engaged in a war or words in recent months, ironically in a dispute as to just who had the right to challenge for the European crown first, a debate that will now be settled in the ring.

Limerick native Casey remains confident he can bring the European title back to his home town. “Nothing has changed for me,” stressed the 28-year-old. ” I’m still fighting for the title on November 6th and all that matters is leaving the ring with that belt around my waist.”

Casey dismissed their previous encounters. “We sparred before but there is a big difference between sparring and an actual fight and I’ve come an awful long way since we sparred. It’s going to be an exciting fight and I’m sure the atmosphere in Limerick will be brilliant.”

Martinez, though disappointed to miss out, says he will be ringside in Limerick and is adamant that he will be back. “I’m very disappointed I won’t be able to defend the title but the rib injury left me in too much pain and it was even hard to breathe.

“I know that Casey has trained hard for his chance and Hyland was the number one challenger so it was only fair that I vacate the belt but they need to remember that it will only be on loan, I will definitely be coming to Ireland to take it back again.”

The European title clash between the two headlines a huge night of championship boxing which also features the return of Martin “Iron Man” Rogan, a year to the day from his last fight in Belfast.

Cork based Cuban hotshot Luis Garcia faces a massive step up in class in just his eleventh pro fight when he takes on former two time World Champion Byron Mitchell.

An Irish title will be up for grabs too when Anthony Fitzgerald and Lee Murtagh will scrap for Fitzgerald’s Irish title. The duo were scheduled to clash on two previous occasions but both were binned after Murtagh was forced to withdraw through injury.

Also featuring on the card is unbeaten Limerick based Galwegian Alan Donnellan and exciting Dublin prospects Brendan Fitzpatrick and Gavin Prunty while Galway’s Jon Fogg makes his pro debut against unbeaten Spanish cruiserweight Ricky Pow.

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