Rocky Ormond going old-school for Irish title clash with Hyland


Such is the new excitable demeanour of Stephen Ormond that when he talks about going into ‘camp,’ you would be forgiven for thinking he was talking about a site in the South of France rather than sweatsuits in the Celtic Warriors Gym.

The Clondalkin fighter is literally bouncing with excitement when he discusses his upcoming clash with Paul Hyland Jr [16(6)-0] and can’t wait to get going in the gym.

Most would relate the aforementioned child-like anticipation to the fact that Ormond [24(13)-4(1)] has been given a surprise chance to impress on a World title undercard live on Sky just months after it looked like his career was over.

However, when talking to the 34 year old you get a different picture. It’s simple, the pressure is off.

Ormond for the first time in a long time will trade leather without a career agenda. The Irish and IBF East/West European lightweight titles may be on the line, but ‘The Rock’ doesn’t seem to care less and approaches his Hyland clash as sport rather than business.

Ahead of his last few outings the fighter was selling the ‘win or bust’ lines. It’s now or never could often be heard coming out of his mouth as were ‘this is my world title year’ promises.

However, defeat at the Waterfront Hall to Craig Evans had most, even the fighter himself, suggesting retirement was next on the agenda. Ormond does fight on, but with no real World title expectations on his shoulders and is fighting as much for fun as glory.

A jovial Ormond told Irish-Boxing.com that “I am delighted to be on Sky, you have to give it to Eddie he does great things.”

“It would be nice to impress on Sky, but I am not putting pressure on myself. The last few fights I have said I need to win or it’s all over.I have said it’s no or never and stuff like it’s a World title or bust this year.”

“Forget all that now. I am going to enjoy it now. I love fighting and I am getting paid to fight so I should be happy.”

“I am going to have fun again in training and I am going to enjoy this fight. Get in and get out with no big talk before or after.”

For those who don’t know the fighter may misinterpret his fun approach as a negative. They may suggest a more relaxed ‘Rock’ may take it handy in the gym or might not come to fight, but it’s quite the opposite.

The Dubliner might not be able to tell you who are World champions at his weight at present, indeed he might not even be able to tell you his own record, but while he isn’t the biggest fan of the boxing business he does love nothing more than partake in a boxing match.

When Ormond talks about having fun he means enjoying sparring, working up a sweat and training the old school way with no added pressures or no obsession with trying to find an sly advantage via new techniques.

Indeed after a few years of fighting just under world level, ‘The Rock’ is going back to training more like Rocky Balboa and less like Ivan Drago.

“I said to Paschal let’s go back to old school. I have tried different approaches over the last few years. Every new trend, trying this, that and the other. This is back to old school, the runs, the work, and sparing every three days. I love that.”

“That is what got us success before so we are going to do it again. Honestly I enjoy that too so I am happier training and I am really looking forward to enjoying this fight, I am already back in camp.”

“I am going straight in at the deep end and like we used to I am going to go away and spar and just spar everybody and anybody. No more keeping a book of this and that, writing stuff down or holding back on this day or that day – we are doing it the Rocky way, not the way of the Russian lad,” he laughed.

Ormond isn’t the only one excited about his upcoming clash. Fight fans in Ireland expressed their delight as soon as it was made. The clash between the #1 and #2 lightweight in the BUI rankings – and the consensus top two fighters on the island – has the potential to be fight of the night on what is a strong card.

Ormond agrees it has all the ingredients to entertain and explained how “I have been watching Paul Hyland Jr over the last year and you have to say he is exciting.”

“After watching his last fight and how frustrated I was with mine I honestly thought before we got the call that this would be a great fight.”

“He comes to fight too. It’s a real exciting fight. I’m excited about it and I am sure he is too.”

“I didn’t want a comeback opponent. I wanted to get in against a decent opponent and I got it. It’s an all Irish fight with two fighters that like to fight. Everyone should be excited.”

gym trition

frayne carpentry

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