By Lee Elford
Stephen Ormond, 11-1 (5), exploded onto our TV screens as chief support to Ricky Burns’ win over Paulus Moses last month when taking Paul Appleby, 18-3 (11), to the limit over 10 pulsating, high octane rounds. Ormond looked to have done enough after blitzing through seven of them, throwing combinations to the head and body with great intent and velocity.
At times Ormond looked to have been moments away from stopping the tough Scot, who was involved in a terrific “Fight of the year” candidate against Liam Walsh last year, only to slow down in the last few rounds. Appleby got the verdict via unanimous decision, much to the general disbelief of British boxing fans.
“Looking back on the fight, I thought I won the first six or seven rounds,” said Ormond when speaking to Boxingscene.com. “It felt close in the fight but when I looked back on it, it looks different altogether. If I fought him again I would definitely use my jab more, I would box him a bit more and I think I would stop him in eight rounds. It wasn’t a fair result I definitely got done over by the judges, but that’s life – you live and learn and it’s on to the next one.”
The Irish Super featherweight is a fighting man. When growing up in Dublin he was brought up with and into boxing, one could say it was in the blood. You feel he harbours no hard feelings over the decision that went against him, and it is his professional attitude and enthusiasm which convinces he will come again harder and stronger, as he told of his introduction to boxing and his tough amateur career.
He said: “I grew up in the North side of Dublin, and I moved down to the South side of Dublin when I was about 12. My family were all boxers. My father was an Irish champion, my uncle was an Irish champion and my grandfather was a boxer. I was in the gym from about four or five years of age and I started the training when I was nine – I was always in the boxing, you know.”
“I won three senior ABA titles and a few Junior’s. I did quite a lot of amateur boxing which included a lot of internationals. I missed out on the world championships due to injury and also outgrowing the weight. It was great though I enjoyed it I still got to fight internationally so it was a top learning experience. I must have had over 200 amateur fights, easily. Every fight I’ve been in as a professional is a better one than the last. Every fight is bigger because your opponent is better than the last and so it gets more exposure.”
Stephen’s name propped up at the end of last year as a scheduled opponent for the returning Kevin Mitchell in a 10 round contest. Unfortunately the fight never materialized. It was simply a case of a conflict of issues which saw the contest called off. If Ormond’s relentless aggressive style against Appleby is anything to go by, fans missed out on a real barnburner between the pair. Ormond was ready, and he revealed his side of the story.
“In November last year I got told that I could be fighting Kevin Mitchell so, I said yes no problem,” he recalled. “I started a training camp for it, doing three to four weeks training, and then he got told he couldn’t fight. I was training for him and then the show got called off in December. I took a break because I was training for nearly three months. I was out of training for four weeks and I was way out of the weight. I was asked again if I wanted to fight Kevin Mitchell in four weeks time, the first I heard of it was on Facebook, that they were looking to me to fight him. I wasn’t in good shape. He’s a great fighter and I wanted to be in the best shape to fight him – I don’t fight to lose, I fight to win.”
The good news for Irish and fighting fans is that Stephen returns soon, and “The Rock” has been in solid training, looking to come back with a point to prove, with the date likely to be at the end of April.
“I’m in training at the moment, I’ve been training since the last fight and I think I’m out on the April 28 though it could be a week later. [His promoter] Frank [Warren] has two shows on with one in May so they have to decide which show they want to put me on and I’ll know in the next few days. It should be a six or eight rounder.”
He added: “I’m feeling good training’s going great. I keep learning every day. I learnt loads from the last fight and I just want to keep on learning and show in the next fight what I’ve learned. I’m enjoying it and that’s the main thing. I’d like to thank to all the people that came to watch me fight and all the support, I’ll be out to impress in the next one.”