Paul Hyland Jr “knew it was close” against Stephen Ormond – but feels he deserved the win


Paul Hyland Jr admits he was surprised at how fit and tough Stephen Ormond turned out to be, but claims he wasn’t taken aback when his hand was raised after their entertaining 12 round clash.

‘Hylo’ won a Belfast-Dublin derby via split decision to retain the IBF East/West European belt on the undercard of Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov’s unification clash, but the questionable result sparked huge controversy.

The vast majority ringside, on social media, and in the press (including Irish-Boxing.com who scored the bout 115-112 for Ormond) felt The Rock rallied back after being dropped in the third and did more than enough to win.

However, Hyland and indeed his team believe he was the rightful victor.

In fairness to the Belfast fighter, who has entertained from day one and grabbed his chances when they arose, a shocking 117-110 from Valerie Dorsett may have fueled some result critics. Indeed the situation is reminiscent of Adalaide Byrd’s 118-110 scorecard in favour of Canelo Alvarez over Gennady Golovkin last month – and there is an argument that a smaller margin of victory might have prompted some to be more understanding of the result.

The Lagmore fighter himself admits it was close, but he felt the knockdown and some cleaner work was enough to see him claim win number 17.

“To be honest I wasn’t expecting him to be that tough and that fit. I though maybe for the first five rounds he would be strong, but I didn’t expect him to be that tough for the whole fight. He was in my face a lot to be fair to him and it was a cracking fight,” Hyland told Irish-Boxing.com after the clash.

“I knew it was close going into the last round, but I was confident my boxing ability and the fact I had the knock down had me a few points up.”

Post-fight Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn had suggested a rematch may have to happen, while Sky raised it as a possibility in their post fight interview. True to his nature Hyland wasn’t keen to say no, but did outline it would have to be done at the right price and with something on the line that would mean it didn’t prevent him from progressing his career forward.

The 27 year old ticket-seller also indicated a shot at Lewis Ritson and the Englishman’s recently-won British title appealed to him more.

“Whoever next that’s up to Mark [Dunlop, manager] and Eddie. I am not going to turn a fight down if the pay cheque is right and they put something on the line worth fighting for.”

“But I said before this fight that I would like a shot at the British title and I would still like that. That is a big fight and would be another good one for the fans. I think a fight between myself and Lewis Ritson would be entertaining.”

The result may have been questioned at the end, but midway through the third round it looked like there was going to a clear knockout winner. Hyland dropped Ormond with a right hand and the 34 year old looked unsteady as he rose to his feet.

The fighter, like most in the arena, felt the end was imminent at that point, but credited Ormond for recovering.

“He walked straight in and I threw the jab and the right hand and landed flush on his chin. He went straight down and I seen his legs wobble as he got up and went over to the ropes. I went for it then. I thought that might have been it then and there, but he is experienced and he knew what to do.”

“I was trying every trick in the book, but he is experienced and has fought at World level and he stood there for 12 rounds,” he continued before discussing the contest further.

“He never really hurt me. I took a few head clashes and I got an elbow to the jaw which hurt, but I was expecting it to be tough and rough on occasion.”

“I got drawn into his fight for a time and I got caught with some big shots, but I used my skills then I thought when I did that I was taking over the rounds. I knew it was pretty even and that is okay against a fighter that is experienced and fought at World level, but I knew I was rounds up.”

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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