Sunday 24 February 2019

McDonald on march

Paddy Hyland's legacy shapes new generation

Pushing on: Carl McDonald has the chance to claim a BUI Celtic title
Pushing on: Carl McDonald has the chance to claim a BUI Celtic title

Ten years ago exactly, the Hyland brothers mopped up three Irish national titles.

In April 2008, Patrick and Eddie lifted the Irish featherweight and super featherweight belts respectively before younger brother Paul claimed the super bantamweight title.

All were coached by their father Patrick Snr, a member of the Irish boxing aristocracy. Paddy, who died tragically three years ago, came up in conversation this week when Eddie explained the background to the upcoming BUI Celtic super bantamweight title fight between Carl McDonald and Colin O'Donovan.

"Carl was coached by my father," said Eddie. "He wanted to turn pro but Paddy advised him to win an amateur title first. When Paddy died, Carl asked me to coach him."

Eddie took over his late father's mission of developing Carl McDonald into a title-winning professional.

When he'd won an intermediate title, McDonald made his pro debut with a comfortable points win in Belfast.

The one blip in his four fight career was a loss to Regan Buckley on the undercard of the Eric Donovan-Dai Davies title fight.

"I asked him not to fight that night," reveals Eddie. "He'd just had two deaths in the family, a grandmother and an uncle, and he wasn't focussed. Regan did his job and got the victory."

McDonald bounced back in fine style on Celtic Clash 5 with a dominant display that put his opponent down twice in the first round.

The loudest voice at ringside was Hyland's,urging McDonald, "Take your time."

"Carl is still learning," he says. "He got over-excited and threw everything."

On Saturday June 16, at Good Counsel GAA Club, McDonald will face Cork dynamo Colin O'Donovan with a BUI Celtic title at stake.

"Both fighters need the win," says promoter Leonard Gunning. "The winner gets an Irish title fight which could put them in the European rankings. This fight will open up doors for the winner."

"Carl is back on form," says Hyland. "He knows Colin's a tough customer and he's working his arse off in training. He'll be ready to go eight rounds if he has to but he's been doing a few different things which could end the fight early for him."

Hyland points to McDonald's boxing skills as the possible decider in this eagerly-anticipated clash. "He likes to fight but he can box as well," he says. "Physically he's a lot stronger than he was and I've never seen him as calm."

"Carl already knows in his head what he's got to do to get the win," he adds. "This is a huge opportunity for him and he knows it."

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