Hyland v Ormond controversy continues as BUI ignore official result in latest rankings

The saga surrounding the controversial fight between Paul Hyland Jr and Stephen Ormond continues to rumble on.

Today the Boxing Union of Ireland (BUI) updated their rankings for the first time since that fateful fight last Saturday night and effectively disregarded the split decision win for Hyland and left Ormond atop the lightweight ladder.

The fight, chief support to the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov bantamweight unification at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast was shown live on Sky Sports.

Belfast’s Hyland [17(6)-0] was declared a winner after twelve rounds, in which he knocked down Dubliner Ormond in the third, however the vast majority of observers felt that the wrong man had been given the verdict.

34 year old Ormond [24(13)-5(1)] was seen by many to have dominated the entire second half of the fight against 27 year old Hyland who went past the eighth for the first time in his career.

The near entirety of the Irish boxing media, the Sky Sports broadcast team, and almost ever observing Irish fighter scored the bout to Ormond, however this did not translate to the scorers of consequence at ringside.

Judges Howard Foster and Valerie Dorsett disagreed and turned in heavily-criticised scorecards of 114-113 and 117-110 in favour of Hyland, overruling Pasquale Procopio who had it 115-112.

The verdict caused outrage, with immediate calls for a rematch from fans and discussion of the bout has continued throughout the week.

This afternoon the BUI updated their rankings, and kept Ormond at #1 despite the loss to #3 Hyland [Jamie Kavanagh is ranked #2].

Explaining their eye-catching decision, the body – who rank every Irish fighter regardless of whether they hold a BUI licence – released a statement.

The explanation read that “after careful consideration, the BUI ratings committee sees no reason to demote Stephen Ormond from no.1 in its lightweight rankings after his absorbing contest with Paul Hyland Jnr last Saturday.”

“Of particular concern was the irrational scoring of the fight by Judge Valerie Dorsett, which was again reflected by her scoring of the subsequent world title fight that same night.The unanimous view from experienced journalists ringside and professional boxers was that Stephen Ormond clearly won.”

“The BUI ratings committee also took into consideration the quality of opponents each fighter has faced to date. The BUI commends both boxers for an an outstanding contest.”

It was a rare move from the BUI, however there is precedent for controversial results to be disregarded.

The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, the sport’s authoritative ratings board, outline in their charter that “Although close losses and poor wins may be reflected in the rankings, the Board will refrain from nullifying the official results, with one exception: If over 75% of the Board agrees that the judges’ decision in a non-championship bout is egregious enough to constitute a “robbery”, then the official winner may be ranked lower than the official loser.”

It is yet another flash-point of confrontation between BUI and Hyland’s team.

Initially when Hyland v Ormond was announced it was due to be for the vacant Irish title – as well as the Lagmore man’s IBF East/West Europe belt.

This status however was revoked by the BUI after Hyland’s manager Mark Dunlop refused to take out an Irish licence for Hyland over six weeks out from the bout, with Dunlop instead wanting to wait until closer to fight night before doing so to guard against what would be a costly late pull-out from Ormond.

Previously Hyland had also been set for Irish title fights with both Michael Devine and Gearoid Clancy, but would see these fall apart.

If the incident regarding the Irish title status of Hyland v Ormond wasn’t the final straw, today’s statement certainly seems to be for Dunlop.

The manager responded to the BUI’s rankings decision with fury and in his own strongly-worded statement noted how his boxer “is licensed and ranked by the British Boxing Board of Control, he has absolutely nothing to do with the Boxing Union of Ireland ranking list no wishes to be even mentioned on such a list.”

Paul resigned from the Boxing Union of Ireland over twelve months ago because there is a severe lack of title opportunities caused by the constant rule changes made by the ‘new’ mentioned ranking committee.”

“The history is well documented that Team Paul Hyland Jnr has constantly been denied his opportunity to fight for an Irish title that has been dormant for many years and has the recent rule changes that constantly hindered his quest

Like Hyland Jr himself did in an online posting earlier this week, Dunlop suggested a southern bias at play and claimed that today’s move was a personal one against the fighter – rather than an objective consideration of the bout.

Dunlop continued: “We personally find this latest statement as a personal attack on Paul Hyland Jr by the Dublin based commission who are clearly and openly giving their irrelevant opinion which has been swayed by “Ringside Journalists & Professional Boxers” in favour of their licence holder who was deemed to have lost the contest by two very experienced and renowned judges appointed by International Boxing Federation”

“To add further distaste to a world class contest to question the brevity of opponents that Paul Hyland Jnr has faced is unbelievable considering 13 of the 17 boxers he has faced have positive records or undefeated and some title holders in their own countries.”

“We will also be asking at this time to have all of our boxers who are not licensed by the Boxing Union of Ireland to have their names completely removed from a list that is compiled from not only ineligible but inactive professional boxers.”

“My personal irrelevant opinion on the fantastic contest between Paul Hyland Jr & Stephen Ormond was that Paul won a close contest by two rounds and he certainly never lost as suggested by your misguided opinion.”

“I as many also think that Darren Cruise is a two weight Irish Champion – Opinions!”


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