By Gavan Casey
115 miles southeast of Blackpool, Stephen ‘The Rock’ Ormond returns. A lengthy layoff has whet the appetite of WBO #5 lightweight contender Stephen Ormond ahead of his hotly-anticipated contest with unbeaten Mancunian, Terry Flanagan. It promises not to be a Valentine’s Night love-in.
“50 Shades of Black Eyes, maybe!
It’s either that or sit at home fighting with the missus. I’d rather be in the ring fighting!” Ormond, looking relaxed, laughs.
“No, I’m really looking forward to it. Ten months out of the ring is a long time. I’ve sparred everybody. And I mean EVERYBODY – from Ireland, England, America.
Everything is right. I’m rearing to go.”
In a curious turn of events, Ormond’s former opponent Derry Matthews – outclassed by the talented Dubliner in December 2013 – has been rather inexplicably catapulted into a WBA world title shot with the talented Richar Abril. Though naturally frustrated at the injury-forced halt in his own recent push for world honours, Ormond is gracious in his well wishes for the Liverpudlian.
“Fair play to him, he got the WBA shot. He did alright there.
I don’t hold any grudges against him or anything like that.”
Where his fellow Celtic Warrior fighter seeks to further ignite his burgeoning young career on the same night in Blackpool, 31 year old Ormond is faced with an eliminator-like scenario; the possible reward being a title shot of his own with the WBO – potentially on a Manny Pacquiao undercard, taking into account Pac-Man’s affiliation with the World Boxing Organisation.
Experienced enough to know better, Ormond is taking nothing for granted.
“I’m not looking beyond this fight. But whoever wins, they fight for a title against Juan Diaz in America this summer. That’s definitely what the plan is, but I don’t want to look that far ahead.”
I’m only looking at Flanagan and Saturday night. It only takes me three weeks to get ready for a fight. I’m always sharp. There won’t be any ring-rustiness at all.
The amount of time I’ve been out is only going to make it better for me. My spars are tough spars and I keep learning in the ring. I’ve learned a lot just from sparring alone.”
An in-ring boxing education is very much integral to Paschal Collins’ training ethos. With the obvious clash in fighter schedules, Collins will run Ormond’s corner for what will be the fourth defence of his European title.
And though thankful to have the Irish Trainer of the Year at his side on Saturday night, Ormond backs his stablemate to prevail in Collins’ absence.
“Luke will win Prizefighter. Definitely. Two in a row.
And I’ll get it done as well. We’ll do the double!
We’re all on the same journey, you know? We’re all after that world title.”
The second fighter to ever train out of Collins’ gym, it remains to be seen if Stephen Ormond can fulfill his potential and become the current Celtic Warrior crop’s first world champion. If the slick Dub can rock England’s midlands on Saturday night, we may well find out this summer.
Let’s just hope we don’t miss anything while we frantically hop channels.
Gavan can be contacted on Twitter: @GavanCasey or at email@example.com
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