LIVERPOOL, England – Irishman Stephen Ormond comprehensively outpointed hot favorite Derry Mathews in a 10-round lightweight attraction and could now be heading towards a significant title fight. Official scores were 98-93 twice and 98-92, with both men weighing in at 134 pounds.
Mathews, the home fighter, still holds the Commonwealth lightweight crown but his stock has taken a massive hit, whereas Ormond has come of age on what is a talent-splashed domestic scene.
“Derry is the best opponent I’ve faced,” said Ormond. “I was cagey in the first three rounds, looking for his big left hook, but after that my corner told me to push forward and that was the game plan. I’d like to thank Derry for the opportunity.”
Mathews kept his composure in the opening sessions, tagging Ormond with the jab and thwarting the Irishman’s attacks with a high guard. Ormond was busy but he could not break through the Englishman’s defenses, as the home crowd rallied behind the popular Liverpool star.
Ormond began warming to the task by the midway point, nailing Mathews with quick, eye-catching bursts, which were almost impossible to counter due to their speed and regularity. Instead of hitting the guard Ormond was now creating angles and worked his opponent up and down with clean effective power shots.
Mathews was clearly being outworked and at times he looked bewildered by what was in front of him and slow by comparison. Ormond’s fitness and ferocity had him pulling away on points and the remarkable turnaround, which Mathews is renowned for, was looking less and less likely.
Ormond’s punches retained their velocity and accuracy in the late rounds and the Irishman was producing a career-best performance. Mathews was labored and lethargic and his opponent opened up with serious combinations to head and body whenever his opponent’s back touched the ropes.
A terrific right hand, left hook from Ormond landed on the end of yet another multi-punch combination and the Irishman shot a smile towards his corner in celebration in Round 9. There was simply no way back for the game warrior from Liverpool and, although he raised his hands at the final bell, there was no doubting who the winner was.
“I’m not here to make excuses,” said Mathews. “From Round 2 I couldn’t throw a right hand properly, so I’ll go to hospital to see if it’s broken. I’m taking nothing away from this man (Ormond) because he came to my backyard and won in style.”
Mathews is one of the most exciting fighters in the U.K. but it’s difficult to fathom where he goes after this setback. His never-say-die attitude and highlight reel knockouts have amassed him a serious cult following but his dream of securing a world title fight looks further away than ever.
Ormond (16-1, 7 knockouts) was a prohibitive underdog coming in but big showdowns, foreign and domestic, now loom for the Dublin-based slugger. Like Mathews, he possesses a fan-friendly style and this victory might only be the beginning for an exciting new talent.
On the undercard, unbeaten junior bantamweight Paul Butler easily outpointed Ruben Montoya over twelve rounds in a one-sided thrashing. Official scores were 120-109, 120-108 and 118-110 as “The Baby Faced Assassin” moved to 14 fights unbeaten, with seven knockouts.
Butler tagged his opponent with everything in the book and barely got out of second gear during the contest. He did allow his opponent to release punches, while his back was against the ropes, but utilized cute defensive maneuvers to avoid anything damaging, before whipping in sharp counters.
The British star is considered one of the brightest young talents in the U.K. and many within the trade tip him to go all the way to a world title. Both men weighed in at 114 pounds.
Photos by Scott Heavey-Getty Images
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing