Hyland promises to fight back after first-round stoppage
Paul Hyland Jnr vowed to bounce back following his first-round stoppage defeat to Lewis Ritson at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday night.
Three knockdowns in the opening round prompted referee Steve Gray to step in and wave the contest off seven seconds shy of the end of the opening stanza and while 'Hylo' felt he was OK to continue, the man in the middle felt otherwise and called a halt to proceedings, which saw Ritson win the Lonsdale Belt outright after his third successful defence.
"There were seven seconds left in the round and I would have liked to have continued, so I'm a bit gutted about that," said the west Belfast man.
"As my manager, Mark Dunlop said to me, if you're going to lose, it may as well be to a true champion like him who has now won the belt outright.
"I'm a bit down now, but I'll come back again. It's up to my team now to see what's next. Whatever they put in front of me, I'll fight. That's my job."
Newcastle's Ritson has now claimed the coveted belt for keeps and his three defences have lasted just four rounds.
Going into this fight, Hyland would have hoped to drag the Geordie into the second half, but it wasn't to be.
A couple of early jabs visibly stiffened the legs of Hyland and things began to unravel when a right, which looked suspiciously behind the head staggered him.
It was a right midway through the first that had the Belfast man on the floor, yet he bounced up and was ready to continue.
While the smarter move may have been to ride out the storm and see the round out, Hyland opted to fight fire with fire, but Ritson had the greater pop and Hyland was down for a second and then third time, which saw Gray call a halt after 2;23 of the first round to the delight of the packed arena.
While disappointed in defeat, Hyland may now target the British title with Ritson moving onto European level.
"When he caught me to the back of the head, my legs just went dead," admitted Hyland.
"I got up and tried to move, but his shots were just too heavy and all I could do was stand and fight him.
"There's no taking it away from him, he's strong. It's not like he's a big, one-punch knockout person, it's more the combinations.
"Every punch is solid and he was hitting me with the jab and they were solid. I was winging punches at him, but they were bouncing off him."