Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs) will fight Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) for the interim WBA featherweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on December 8. The pair will meet on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez fight in a contest scheduled for 12 rounds.
"It is all official. My management has agreed and signed it [the contract] and they are sending it over to me to sign," Hyland told the Irish Voice on Monday.
"Top Rank contacted Final Round Promotions/Team Snooki Boxing and put the fight to us. I was kind of shocked but I knew eventually, if I kept winning, that I would get a call."
Hyland moved to Malboro, New York, in September 2011 to further his career and accelerate his path to a world title shot. The Dublin native signed a promotional contract with Final Round Promotions and Team Snooki Boxing and teamed up with trainer Tracy Harris Patterson. Since then he has racked up three solid wins against durable opponents.
Hyland, 29, went on to say that he is "over the moon" to have a world title shot on the undercard of a Pacquiao fight, which he describes as "the biggest of all stages." However, he is under no illusion as to the size of the challenge that awaits in the form of the undefeated 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic.
"The champions of the featherweight division are all avoiding this guy. As a kid I always dreamed of fighting for a world title and I have nothing to lose, all the pressure is all on him,” Hyland says.
“He is a leftie and a big puncher, and he is on a different level to any guy I have fought. I know how to fight a southpaw. I would see him as a Breidis Prescott-type fighters, a huge puncher who is very dangerous in the early rounds."
Fortuna is a highly touted prospect and is coming off a career-best second round TKO win over former world titleholder Cristobal Cruz. He is based in Oxnard, California, is trained by Pablo Sarmiento and promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz. The southpaw has impressive hand speed and power, and his team feels he is now ready to fight for a world title.
Hyland began serious training a few weeks ago at his upstate New York location with Harris Patterson. Lightweight Michael Brooks from Long Island will be one of his first sparring partners and more will be drafted in as camp progresses. The Dubliner feels that staying out of trouble in the early rounds will be key for him if he is to win the fight.
Having a trainer like Harris Patterson, who was a two-weight world champion during his fighting days, and "knows what to do" in preparation for a title fight is a great boost, says Hyland. The two are starting to plot a way to try and beat Fortuna.
"We wouldn't have taken this fight it we didn't think we could win it," said Hyland, who is ranked world number six by the WBA.
In other news, middleweight Matthew Macklin has signed an agreement with fellow pro Sergio Martinez to “promote boxing in Spain and Europe.” Martinez announced the deal via Twitter.
After his impressive victory over Joachim Alcine last month in Vegas, Macklin had hoped to strike a deal to fight WBA/IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale in March. However, Geale has decided to defend his titles against fellow Australian Anthony Mundine in January, so team Macklin will have to look elsewhere for his next assignment.
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