29 November 2022
By Tom Collins
Tommy Hyde will finally make his debut as a professional boxer this week in America.
The popular light heavyweight puncher will box on Thursday night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ending a long period on the sidelines. The maiden outing will cap off a frustrating year for the Rebel youngster and hopefully set in motion a busy 2023 as he builds towards major belts and big nights back home in Cork.
The talented Hyde has been looking to turn pro for over two years, spending plenty of time in America and seeing numerous opportunities fall through. Hyde who runs the popular Hannah Bawn’s bar in Cork was a top amateur having won three Irish underage titles, multiple box-cups and represented his country internationally – including at the World Junior Championships.
Hyde spent time training in California and Mexico in early 2021 before moving back home to compete in both the Irish and English amateur championships. Committing fully to the pros, Hyde relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts at the start of 2022 to train with top coach Hector Bermudez.
Among the six fighters that Bermudez has guided to World titles is Portlaoise’s TJ Doheny – the last Irishman to hold a world championship. Hyde will be looking to add to this list and notes how “I’m happy with what I achieved as an amateur, I’ve won national titles and boxed for my country which I’m very proud of. I think it’s the right time to make the move. I’m after getting a lot of experience as an amateur and I’m only 23 so I’ve plenty of time now to learn my trade as a professional.”
“I’m putting the work in in the gym so I’ll be ready for whoever is across the ring from me. The short term goal is to fight regularly and keep learning in the gym. I’ve already learnt a lot since I came over here to Springfield to train with Hector so I just want to keep that going and keep improving.”
Hyde was due to fight in Cork earlier this year only for the sold-out show to be cancelled at late notice due to irregular findings in his MRI. Initially the worst was feared for Young Tommy’s career but he was soon given the all-clear to box – the reason for the scan irregularity being a reaction to antibiotics taken as a child.
With that disappointment put behind him and months of training in America in the bank, Hyde will be looking for release on Thursday night. The big-punching Leesider admits how “the last seven months have been very frustrating but I stayed dedicated and kept training every day. I am working hard here in Springfield, Massachusetts and I’ll be ready to put on a show in Sioux Falls. It’s been a long time coming but I’m ready to rock!”
Also involved is Tommy’s father, Gary, who is a professional boxing manager of note having orchestrated the careers of the likes of Cuban legend Guillermo Rigondeaux and Hassan N’Dam. The younger Hyde spent many years backstage, seeing the rise of these fighters and now steps into the spotlight himself.
With Cobh’s Callum Walsh tearing things up on the U.S. West Coast and other Cork boxers like Danny Keating and Steven Cairns rising steadily – not to mention the evergreen Spike O’Sullivan who is still in the hunt for big fights – things are looking up for the sport in the county. Hyde, alongside his father, want to be at the forefront of this.
“It’s brilliant to have my dad guiding me,” Tommy Hyde explains. “He has seen everything there is to see in the pro game and to be honest I have to work with him because I’ve always been next to him. He brought me to all the big fights with him so hopefully, I can bring him in a couple of years.”
“I have been going to pro shows since I was a child and the buzz I got from the atmosphere is why I started boxing. I want big nights like that. It would be great to have a few shows a year in Cork with the crowds getting bigger and bigger. Eventually, I want to bring big fights and titles home.”