By Jonny Stapleton
Stephen ‘The Rock’ Ormond has turned down the chance to smash his way into world title contention and officially pulled out of a February 10 bout with English star Kevin Mitchell.
Frank Warren Promotions yesterday scheduled a press conference to announce the lightweight dust up, but Ormond failed to appear and informed the promoter he wouldn’t be taking the fight.
Team Ormond are adamant the much touted Irish prospect is not afraid of the fighter, who boasts wins over John Murray and Breidis Prescott and has been heavily linked with world champions Ricky Burns and Brandon Rios.
Manager Pascal Collins, who admitted the move could sour Ormond’s relationship with Warren, is keen to point out that the 28 year old former St Matthews Amateur stand out twice excepted the fight last year only to see it called off.
Collins, whose brother Steven attended the press conference in a bid to smooth tings over with Warren, stressed his fighter is drained physically and mentally and couldn’t get in the right frame of mind after having a Christmas break.
“It was a great opportunity for Stephen, but he just couldn’t get up for it. I told him it may take time to get a chance like this again, but it is not a case of not wanting to fight Kevin Mitchell. Stephen proved he would take that fight by accepting it twice last year. We even accepted at 24 hours notice on one of those two occasions. The difference now is Stephen has not been in training over the Christmas,” Collins told Mirror Sport.
“He was training for 4 months solid with that fight in mind and saw it called off twice. So we decided he deserved a break over the Christmas. If he kept training he would have been burnt out mentally and physically. He came back this week, but he just couldn’t get up for it or motivated.”
Collins, who also trains Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Ian Tims, did hint if the date was moved back they would agree to trade leather with Mitchell.
“I thought it made more sense to have the fight on March 10. If it was on the under card of Ricky Burns next work title defence it would build up to a world title fight between the two winners. If Frank came back to us with that date we would take it.”
A fight with the Essex Boy was the break through chance perennial prospect Ormond craved, but whilst he admits promoter Warren is annoyed, Collins backed his fighters decision. His does however hint Ormond future could now depend on the forgiving nature of Warren and not his much heralded talent.
“Frank is pissed off. We know that and I hope this doesn’t effect the relationship he has with us or his plans for our other fighters. He knows what Stephen is capable of and I hope he remembers that. Also we pulled out in time for him to get a replacement. We didn’t want to do what Frankie Gavin did and pull out the week of the fight. We where honest and up front.”