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Paul Hyland Jr claims highly controversial win over Stephen Ormond in Belfast chief support

Paul Hyland JrĀ claimed a career-best win tonight in Belfast, edging Stephen Ormond on a highly controversial split decision.

The lightweight battle acted as the chief support on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov world title undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena and the pair put on a show for the Sky Sports cameras – although one card in particular left a bit of a sour taste.

Initially due to be for the Irish title, this status was revoked due to some licencing nonsense. The fight therefore was solely for Hyland’s IBF East/West Europe belt

27 year old Hyland came into the bout following a sensational first round stoppage of Adam Dingsdale in June – an opponent Ormond had gone the ten-round distance with. On the other hand, one week afterwards, 34 year old Ormond was dropped and defeated by Craig Evans, quickly looking a faded shell of his usual energetic self following a bright start.

An intriguing fight that split opinion in the build-up, Hyland came into the clash as the favourite with the bookies and would take the win on the cards – but there was much disagreementĀ following the debated decision.

Hyland began the busier, but it was Ormond who landed the heavier shots in the opener with big left hooks upstairs.

Ormond was hurt to the body by Hyland in an explosive second and returned fire, with both fighters trading shots downstairs with the occasional left hook to the head thrown in for good measure.

Hyland reverted to his boxing initially in the third and had good success before it became a close-quarters fight in the final minute – with a counter right from Hyland to the point of Ormond’s chin dropping and badly hurting the Dubliner – who did well to see out the round.

Ormond recovered well in an entertaining fourth round, with both boxers throwing with abandon – and the recovering visitor getting the better of the exchanges.

‘The Rock’s’ resurgence continued in the fifth, a quieter round which saw Hyland attempt to stay on the outside.

Ormond shaded the first two minutes of a very closer sixth round, before Hyland came back strongly, momentarily hurting the Clondalkin fighter.

An errant head from Ormond at the start of the seventh garnered him a warning from referee Marcus McDonnell. The away fighter would time Hyland well again for much of the round, landing some big right hands – but the Lagmore man would once again finish strong.

Ormond picked his shots well in the eighth as Hyland finally started to slow somewhat.

A big let hook following by a combination in the corner probably won the ninth for Ormond, but Hyland – competing in the ninth round for the first time in his career – had some success in exchanges late on.

Hyland seemed to get a second wind at the start of the tenth, but Ormond retook control, hurting the home fighter for the first time – before a nasty clash of heads on the bell left Hyland grimacing.

The Belfast man’s output dropped dramatically in the penultimate round as he sought to circle while Ormond chased and landed some big lefts. Then, in the final minute, a war broke out between the pair as Hyland gallantly stood his ground and traded Ormond – who seemed to have much more weight behind his shots.

The pair embraced at the start of the tenth and then the hostilities resumed, Ormond got the better of much of the exchanges but Hyland stood firm, digging deep and hitting back until the bell – which was delayed by two stoppages as Ormond’s mouthpiece came loose.

Going to the three cards, it was a split-decision, with Ormond taking the fight 115-112 on one ledger while Hyland edged one card 114-113 and got the nod on a frankly ridiculous 117-110 on the other.

Irish-Boxing.com scored the bout 115-112 in favour of Ormond, and the press row ringside was in near-unanimous agreement that the he had gotten the better of the bout.

Hyland improves to 17(6)-0 following the win, whileĀ Ormond drops to 24(13)-5(1) after a second successive loss.


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie