Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12KOs) will fight Eric Hunter (17-2, 9KOs) for the USBA featherweight title in a contest scheduled for 10 rounds in early May. As the Irish Voice went to press the venue still has to be confirmed, but it looks like the fight will take place on May 10 in upstate New York.
Hyland was last in action on December 8 when he lost a unanimous decision to Javier Fortuna in a WBA interim title fight on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Martinez fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Since then he took a break in his native Dublin before coming back to Newburgh, New York, a few weeks ago to begin the process of getting back into shape.
Hunter is from Philadelphia and has been a professional since 2005. The 26-year-old's last outing was in early December when he won a unanimous decision over Jerry Belmontes. Hyland is focused on the challenge and knows he must win to maintain his place as a potential contender in the featherweight division.
“I know he [Hunter] is a fast-paced, slick fighter who likes to fight at his pace. He tries to dictate the fight, but I need to get back to winning ways to try and secure another shot at a world title,” Hyland told the Irish Voice on Saturday.
Hyland admits that he was becoming a tad frustrated at not getting a fight a little sooner, but now that he has Hunter in his sights, complacency is one thing that he will not allow hamper his preparations.
“I am taking this fight the same way as I took the Fortuna fight -- very seriously. He is in my way, and he is a good fighter,” said Hyland.
Hyland says that after some time to reflect on his first world title fight against Fortuna and all that went with it, he sees where he and trainer Tracy Harris Patterson have to make some improvements.
“We know where we need to go, and we know there are one or two things to work on, including throwing more punches and putting four- or five-punch combinations together,” he feels.
“The Punisher” reckons that this is one of the reasons that his fight with Fortuna was not a closer affair. “I tracked him [Fortuna] well in the later rounds, but I did not get my combinations off,” Hyland said.
One thing that Hyland was very happy with in his last fight was his physical conditioning, saying that he felt that he had the stamina to go a few more rounds on the night. He plans to stick to the same regime that got him into that shape again this time out. The added bonus of the USBA title on the line for the winner is something that Hyland is happy about.
“It is a recognized belt. If I win and impress on the night then I could get another shot straight away,” said the 29-year-old, adding that if this does not happen and he has to fight another time before a shot then he will do so, as his goal is to get another tilt at a world title belt as soon as possible.