Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs) will fight Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) for the WBA interim featherweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez fight in a contest scheduled for 12 rounds.
The 29-year-old arrived in Vegas on November 24 to acclimatize and finish his fight preparations after spending the last few months in training camp in Marlboro, New York. Hyland left his family and friends in Tallaght, Dublin, in September 2011 to move to the U.S., and that move has paid off with this shot for a world title belt.
"Fighting for the world title will fulfill a lifelong ambition and now the opportunity is finally almost here. This is what I've worked for since the very first day I put on a pair of boxing gloves so it's a dream come true,” he said recently.
Hyland, who is promoted by Final Round Promotions and Team Snooki Boxing, is trained by Tracy Harris Patterson. The Irishman’s father, Paddy, will also man his corner on fight night.
"I've felt ready to step up to World level for a while now so December 8th will be a chance for me to show everybody what I'm about. This is the biggest test of my career to date but when you get to world title level you have to face the best and I've always wanted to test myself against the very best,” he said.
Fortuna, who is trained by Pablo Sarmiento, is a highly-rated southpaw from the Dominican Republic. The 23-year-old, who trains out of Oxnard, California, beat former world titleholder Cristobal Cruz by second round TKO in his last outing on July 6.
When the fight was confirmed, Hyland gave the Irish Voice his analysis of the man who stands in the way of him becoming a world champion.
“I have nothing to lose, all the pressure is all on him. 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 fighter, a huge puncher who is very dangerous in the early rounds,” Hyland said.
Brian Peters, who manages Hyland, feels that his man has a great chance if he can take the fight to the later rounds.
"Patrick wants to prove himself at world level and he jumped at the fight when it was offered. It's a massive opportunity, for a very good purse on the biggest stage possible,” said Peters.
“It's a huge step up but Patrick feels ready for these kinds of fights now. He will have to be very careful in those first few rounds because Fortuna is so dangerous early on, but after a few rounds I think it will become a completely different fight and Patrick can start to take over."
Hyland fans can see the fight on HBO PPV this Saturday night.
In other news, light welterweight Danny O’Connor (19-0-1, KOs) is back in action for his fourth fight of 2012 when he takes on Derek Silveira (8-0, 4KOs) at the TD Garden in Boston on December 14 in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds.
"Fighting at the TD Garden in front of all my fans is a dream that I have had since I put on the gloves," said O'Connor, who is trained by Ronnie Shields.
"Derek is a solid fighter, but also a cocky guy with lots to say. That talking isn't going to help him when it's just he and I between the ropes."