THE HAND of history and a proud family legacy will be on Tommy Hyde’s shoulder when he steps into the ring on Elite finals night at Dublin’s National Stadium next Saturday night.
Hyde, who boxes out of the Mayfield BC, beat Belfast’s Paul McCullough on a nail-biting 3-2 split decision on Saturday to reach his first Elite final.
The stylish Leeside light heavy meets Galway’s Thomas O’Toole, who beat David Bicevis on Saturday, for the vacant 81kg crown live on TG4.
Almost three-quarters of a century ago, Hyde’s great grand uncle, also Tommy Hyde, beat Billy O’Mahony on points in the welterweight finals on February 23, 1946, to bring an Elite belt back to Cork.
Seventy-three years later, Hyde junior, who has Danny Fitzpatrick, Brian Cronin and Keith Williams working his corner, will fight for Elite gold under the same roof on February 23 and he’s confident he’s going to do the business.
“I’m very confident as always. I’m in this to win it and I’m nearly there now, he said.
“It was a cagey fight and I’m delighted with the win.
“McCullagh is a good lad and it was a good fight.
"I'm looking forward to next weekend now, 70 years to the day since my grand uncle won the title.
Hyde’s dad, Gary Hyde, a former manager to Cuba’s two-time Olympic champion, Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux, said they were thrilled with Saturday’s win.
Meantime, Macroom southpaw Christina Desmond is also in action in Saturday’s finals and will face Offaly’s defending champion Grainne Walsh in the welterweight decider.
The 69kg clash has a double significance going into the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 later this year as welter is one of the new Olympic weights for women.
The Cork County Boxing Board extended best wishes to Hyde and Desmond ahead of the biggest night of the year for Irish boxing.
"It's a massive night for Cork boxing as we have two athletes one win each away from the ultimate prize in our sport. All of Cork boxing is behind Christina and Tommy," said Board President Mick O'Brien.
All of Saturday’s finals will be broadcast on TG4. Irish boxing chiefs will confirm the running order for Saturday finals this week.
The weigh-ins will be held between 8am and 9am at the Stadium next Saturday.