When Stephen Ormond (17-1, 8 KO’s) and Terry Flanagan (26-0, 10 KO’s) face off Saturday night at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, U.K., the two will be fighting for Ormond’s WBO European lightweight title. Also on the line however, will be an opportunity to fight for the WBO world lightweight championship.
It’s expected that current lightweight champion Terence Crawford will make the move to the light welterweight division, vacating the WBO strap and according to promoter Frank Warren, leaving the winner of Saturdays contest to face Juan Diaz, a former WBO/IBF/IBO lightweight champion, for the vacant title. As Warren told Irish-boxing.com, “I have already talked to Bob Arum about that fight, so this is a great opportunity for these two quality fighters; win and you get a world title shot. Terry Flanagan is a fighter no one wants to fight and Ormond, well they don’t come tougher than that. It has all the ingredients to be a great fight and the winner really has something to go for.”
Saturday’s final eliminator, billed as “The Rock in a Hard Place”, is an Irish vs. English battle that’s expected to be a highly entertaining. Ormond, AKA “The Rock”, who’s won four straight WBO European title bouts, is also former WBU lightweight champ. His only defeat was questionable; a 2012 war with Paul Appleby for the BBBofC Celtic super featherweight belt that Appleby won by a slim margin. The 31 year old out of Clondalkin, Dublin also holds a victory over multiple British title holder Derry Mathews and dealt then undefeated prospect Adam Dingsdale his first pro defeat in 2013.
Terry Flanagan, known as “Turbo” because of the fast paced, aggressive style he brings to the ring, is the 4/9 favorite at betfair.com, though some question the odds favoring the BBBofC lightweight title holder. He holds wins over Martin Gethin and former world champion Nate Campbell , and like Ormond, he defeated Mathews, though it was a three rounder as part of the “Prizefighter” competition where he went on to defeat Gary Sykes to win in the final bout.
Detractors of the Manchester based southpaw point to fighters like Yordan Vasilev, who came into their fight last May with 35 losses and the 3-3-1 Danny Little, who he fought most recently in December, as examples of the odds being off base. In all fairness though, Flanagan and Ormond were originally scheduled to face off in December and with Ormond falling ill, Little was a late replacement. There’s also the question of how much the pressure of holding on to an undefeated record will come into play for Flanagan, if it does at all.
Speculation aside, these two are expected to bring an explosive level of action to the ring, having some predicting this contest to be a fight of the year front runner.