Pajo Hyland World title fight in doubt after Thurman car crash

Pajo Hyland faces an anxious wait to see if his scheduled World title challenge in two weeks will go ahead.

The Jobstown featherweight was due to take on Gary Russell Jr for the American’s WBC belt at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Conneticut on a card televised by CBS, but the title tilt has been thrown into uncertainty.

But the terrestrially-aired show has been postponed after headliner Keith Thurman suffered whiplash in a car crash last week. WBA welterweight champion Thurman was due to defend his belt against fellow American Shawn Porter in what would have been the first primetime CBS boxing event since Muhammad Ali v Leon Spinks in 1978.

Speaking to Dan Rafael of ESPN, promoter Lou DiBella explained that “While it’s unfortunate that we must temporarily postpone this marquee match-up, a main event of the magnitude of Thurman versus Porter requires both fighters be healthy and at their best.”

“It was not a high-speed accident, but the airbag deployed, and he got hit hard by it.”

“He had an MRI, a CT scan and X-rays, and they were all negative, so he will be fine.”

“He wanted to suck it up, but the doctor told him he took a significant hit from the airbag, so he took a couple of days off from training.”

“He sparred on Saturday, and after sparring, his neck and shoulders locked up, and he was in a lot of pain. The doctors said, ‘No, you can’t fight. You need a number of weeks off to take it easy and do physical therapy.'”

However, Hyland may still get the chance to trade leather for World honours on March 12th after DiBella revealed that he is trying to air the remainder of the card on US cable network Showtime, saying that “We’re talking right now about keeping the show alive and shifting it to Showtime,”

“The [Thurman-Porter] fight just got postponed, so we’re figuring out what to do, but it makes a lot of sense to keep the thing together if we can.”

If the card is to go ahead, Hyland-Russell Jr would become the headline bout with support from Abner Mares-Fernando Montiel and Edwin Rodriguez-Thomas Williams.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]