The Boxing Union of Ireland (BUI) have confirmed that they have loosened their controversial new rules on Irish title eligibility and this has facilitated a major match-up for the green belt.
Earlier this year the BUI implemented a change that specified that fighters must hold a BUI licence for six months (if based in Europe) or three months (if based outside Europe) before being able to fight for the title. This was a change from the previous, more flexible, situation where the BUI allowed fighters to take out a ‘temporary’ Irish license to partake in title fights.
The move was heavily criticised as less than half of all Irish fighters, not to mention fighters of Irish parentage, hold a BUI licence.
Therefore, when the lightweight crossroads clash between the BUI-licenced Dubliner Stephen Ormond [24(13)-4(1)] and the British Boxing Board of Control-licenced Paul Hyland [16(6)-0] was made for the big Matchroom show on October 21st at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast, many lamented that the Irish title would be unable to be on the line.
However, this afternoon the BUI confirmed that they have authorised the bout as an Irish title fight.
The Dublin-based sanctioning body confirmed to Irish-Boxing.com that “a small amendment was made to the rules at the most recent meeting of the Board.”
“(1) (ii) The board of the Boxing Union of Ireland may exercise its discretion where a contestant previously held a Boxing Union of Ireland licence for a minimum period of six consecutive months.”
While still not as flexible as it once was, the amendment potentially re-opens the Irish title route for a number of Irish fighters.
27 year old Hyland, who also defends the IBF East/West belt in the fight, will finally get his shot at the Irish title. Last year the Lagmore man saw a proposed title fights with both Michael Devine and Gearoid Clancy fall through.
34 year old Ormond will also fight for the Irish title for the first time, having previously fought for the BBBoC Celtic belt and a number of rankings titles.
This fight is currently the only bout announced for the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov IBF-WBA bantamweight unification undercard, with more due to be announced at a press conference in Belfast next Wednesday.