Collision was the title of Saturday’s card at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, and a fitting one it turned out to be. The show, put together by MHD promotions, featured Paul Hyland Jr. topping the bill against David Birmingham. Paul Hyland Jr. was coming into this fight with a perfect record of seventeen wins from seventeen fights and looking for a good performance going into a British title fight next. David Birmingham stepped in on very short notice, but was hoping to stay in the habit of winning after a TKO win in his last fight having lost in his challenge for the BBBofC Southern Area Lightweight title last year.
The bill had been jeopardy when Floyd Moore, due to face Hyland, was forced to retire after a scan revealed he has brain stem damage and can no longer box. Luckily he was diagnosed before the fight and is expected to be OK.
Hyland entered the ring to the singing of his fans, he’s a real crowd favourite and it’s easy to see why. From the start both men went head to head and battled it out, however for all of Birmingham’s efforts it was Hyland who stamped his authority on this fight, putting in a ferocious performance. Two lefts followed by a big right had Birmingham in trouble, who also had to deal with an onslaught in the corner before again against the ropes but not only did he show resilience, his technical ability was also on show, doing well to duck and weave as many as he did.
Birmingham had glimpses of success in the second, digging deep and really going for Hyland. Unfortunately for him it wasn’t enough as Hyland returned some tasty combos to maintain his dominance in the fight. Birmingham finished the round bloodied after a notable big right from Hyland. The first two rounds were all out war, but Hyland calmed things a little in the third. Finding his range nicely with some head snapping jabs and nice body to head variations in his shot selection. Birmingham once again showing what a warrior he is but again Hyland was just the better boxer, managing to find his way out of reach every time.
Into the fourth Hyland again had a high volume of punches, Birmingham had made a few complaints to the referee throughout the fight, only this time it looked like he wanted out. He was then pegged back in his own corner were Hyland went to work with a relentless attack causing Birmingham’s corner to throw in the towel, much to Birmingham’s apparent dismay. It was the correct decision from his corner, although he gave a valiant effort, he didn’t need to take any more punishment after already losing every round.
Don’t be fooled by the result. Birmingham went in to win and can leave with his head held high, he played his part in a brilliant bust up! Next up for Hyland is a very tough fight for the British lightweight title against Lewis Ritson, who is making a habit of early stoppages and looking for the all important third defence to keep his belt for good.
Before the evening’s main entertainment, Vladimir Belujsky took on Iain Jackson. From the off the gulf in class was clear to see; Vladimir was faster, stronger, fitter and technically he was a different level to Jackson. Jackson threw very little, but what he did throw just seemed to lack any real conviction and Vladimir powered through the shots. A big right counter followed by a strong flurry put Jackson down for an eight count. Although he got back up, he was quickly pinned against the ropes again as Belujsky unleashed powerful hooks, forcing Jackson to take a knee. Referee John Lowey had seen enough and waved it off. A first round TKO for Vladimir Belujsky who was coming of a defeat to Roy Sheehan in his last outing.
Also on tonight the BUI Celtic Welterweight champion Jay Bryne, against Belfast local Jamesy Gorman. From the sound of the first bell Bryne showed his superiority, taking centre ring and double barrelling his jabs before landing a notable right in the first. Into the second Gorman was just too static and eating jabs, where as Bryne was showing of his footwork and head movement, not only avoiding Gormans work but countering for an array of angles. Into the third and fourth Bryne was getting a little complacent allowing Gorman to land the occasional out swinging left but calls from his corner to keep his hands up seemed to fix that.
All in all it was an easy night’s work for Bryne, taking every round and strolling to victory, his body movement to avoid anything Gorman was throwing being notably impressive. He also threw in a few unexpected uppercuts throughout the fight. Bryne has since said that he feels this was his best performance to date.
Since this card was first announced, it has seen a lot of changes to the lineup for various reasons, and it was In real jeopardy after the unexpected and sad retirement of Floyd Moore. However the management must have been working hard to put on a show tonight and although it was a small bill, the crowd got to see a variation of boxing technique, centre ring stand-offs and stoppages. The crowd was pumped for the headline and both boxers gave us a real spectacle, leaving the fans excited for Hyland’s British Title showdown!
Pictures used with permission of MHD Promotions and Chris Scott