Dubin lightweight Stephen Ormond (4-0, 1 KO) beat Sergi Ganjelashvili (4-3-1) by unanimous decision at the Capital One Bank Theater in Westbury, Long Island on Friday night.
Washington Hago (4-4, 2 KOs) was scheduled to fight the Dubliner, but a left shoulder injury suffered in training last Tuesday forced him to pull out of the fight. Drafted in as a late replacement was Ganjelashvili, a 26-year-old Georgian based in Miami, Florida.
The diminutive Ormond entered the ring to the sounds of Black Sabbath and flew out of the traps in the first round, showing his faster hand speed and throwing four and five punch combinations with intensity and accuracy.
The Clondalkin native was having repeated success with his left hook and lead overhand right, catching his opponent flush on numerous occasions. Ormond often pummeled the body of his opponent with thunderous shots, but the wily Georgian took the punches well and fought back sporadically.
The second round saw more of the same pressure, with stinging left hooks and overhand rights finding their target for the Dub. Ormond had his opponent hurt at least three times in the second stanza, and it was down to Ganjelashvili’s conditioning and strong chin that he somehow stayed on his feet.
Ormond was so enthusiastic that a four-punch combination delivered as the bell rang for the end of the stanza cost him the round, as referee Benji Estevez rather harshly deducted a point from the Irishman for the late hits.
The third was more one-way traffic, but credit to Ganjelashvili, he made a fight of it and was able absorb a lot of punishment. In the second half of the fight, Ormond chose to work the ring and pick his opponent off sporadically. The 26-year-old Dubliner was caught with one overhand in the fifth, but apart from that he cruised to victory.
All three judges scored the fight 59-54, indicating that the only round that Ormond did not win was the second, which was a draw because of the point deduction.
“I think the other guy was just an extremely tough guy, some guys can take a really a punch, because four of five times in that fight the guy was out on his feet and he got hit again and he came back, “ trainer Pete Brodsky told the Irish Voice after the fight.
The late change of opponent (Hago was smaller than Ormond) actually worked in Ormond’s favor. “The Irish Tornado” had done most of his sparring with Chris Algieri, a six-foot light welterweight (who also won well on the night), and this work stood to him against his taller opponent.
“A guy like that, you just have to try to wear him down, but he was a strong guy and he was in good shape, ‘ continued Brodsky.
For Ormond it was another learning step in his fledgling pro career. “The first three rounds I though I could finish him off, but he was strong after that I started to box and tried to pick him off,” he said in the dressingroom after the fight.
“He wasn’t the most talented guy, but he was a tough guy,” continued Ormond. “He kept coming at me and it was hard to make angles.
“The last few rounds I knew I wasn't going to knock him out so I started to move around. I knew he was a lad I could beat and I didn’t want to take any chance. I learned from him, you know. If you can’t knock someone out then you use your head to box him.”
Ormond promised to ring excitement to fans stateside, and he delivered Friday night with a good performance.
Meanwhile, John Duddy (26-1) continues to mull over his next move after his defeat to Billy Lyell on April 24. Neil Sinclair’s camp called him out for a face off for the Irish light middleweight title fight recently, and advisor Craig Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph last Friday that he had received a substantial offer from Hector Camacho Junior’s camp for a fight.
In other news, 22-year-old Belfast featherweight Carl Frampton is scheduled to have his first professional fight against Sandor Szinavel in Liverpool this Friday. Frampton signed a professional contract with former world champion and Boxing Hall of Famer Barry McGuigan, who has huge hopes for his prospect and thinks he can go all the way to a world title.
Another Belfast pro, Ciaran Healy (10-10), has been given a chance to shock the world when he takes on Olympic gold medalist and 2-0 professional James Degale at the O2 Arena in London on June 27.
Healy, a former Irish light middleweight champion, told the Belfast Telegraph that he feels good at 160 pounds and is looking forward to getting stuck into his flashy opponent.
“I think I can shake him up a bit. I'll go right at him and see how he handles it. If you stand off then he's just going to outbox you. The fact that it's over four rounds will suit me because I can just go for it, “ Healy said.
Matthew Macklin (24-2) has a chance to avenge one of the losses on his record when he takes on Andrew Facey (20-5) on the same card as Healy in London.