Photograph: ©Russell Pritchard / Cyclone Promotions
Highly-respected trainer Paschal Collins believes that his lightweight protégé Stephen Ormond is destined for the top and would relish a crack at Terence Crawford if the opportunity arose. Slippery American Crawford left Scotland with Ricky Burns’ WBO title earlier this month and Paschal cited Ormond’s high pressure style and professional attitude as evidence that he could mix with the division’s finest.
“Stephen is ready to step-up and fight the likes of Terence Crawford,” affirmed Collins.
“When Ormond has a better opponent then he will step-up to the next level and he has already lifted two levels since the Derry Mathews fight. He showed before that fight that he could step in at a week’s notice and take a fight against Adam Dingsdale which was a tough night’s work. Leading up to Mathews we had the right notice and the financial backing to bring in the right sparring partners and we showed what we could do. Carl [Frampton] knows from sparring that Stephen is as game as anything.”
Paschal also revealed that some people are looking at Ormond’s April 4 opponent, Karim El Ouazghari, as a potential banana skin who, if taken lightly, could quickly cut short the Clondalkin man’s career momentum. Indeed, the 34-year-old Spaniard will arrive in Belfast with a reputation for pushing good quality fighters to the wire. One boxer who did manage to get the better of El Ouazghari was Kevin Mitchell, the former world title challenger who nearly fought Ormond himself.
“Let me just say that twice Stephen was down to fight Kevin Mitchell and twice that fight fell through,” said Collins. “We’ve never avoided anybody and whoever gets mentioned we take the fight with them. Karim [El Ouazghari] gave Mitchell trouble before the fight was stopped controversially and he also gave John Murray trouble.”
As for the man himself, Ormond said that he is happy to be featured on the Odyssey bill and he sampled the fervent support and electric atmosphere served up by Frampton’s following at the Jeremy Parodi fight last October. The 30-year-old, beaten only once in 17 fights, also respects El Ouazghari and is well aware that he can ill afford to switch off for a single moment to savour the atmosphere with such a dangerous foe willing to tackle him head on.
“It’s a tough opponent for me and I saw him fight Kevin Mitchell. He’s very fit and he’ll come forward. I needed an opponent like Derry Mathews, a name on my record to push my career forward, so it was great to put the gym work in and it all worked out on the night,” said Ormond.
Paschal and his team down at the Celtic Warrior gym clearly have belief in the potential of Ormond who has put his narrow 2012 Celtic title loss to Paul Appleby down to experience. He has already earned the WBO European title (which he will defend against El Ouazghari) but even bigger nights could be on the cards in the near future.
“We need a promoter behind us to get the world title fight but Barry (McGuigan) is offering us the platform to show what Stephen can do. Who knows, we might have a world title double header with Stephen and Carl one day,” said Collins.