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'Rock' ready to roll in Liverpool

"Steve knows this could be a life-changing fight," says coach Paschal Collins about next Saturday's WBO European lightweight title defence by Dubliner Steve Ormond who meets Derry Mathews (34-8-2, 19KOs) in the Liverpool Echo Arena.

"A win for Steve will establish him in the World Top 10," adds Collins.

Irish boxing fans know what Ormond has achieved. Fifteen wins, seven by knockout mainly fighting away from home, is impressive.

Hundreds of Irish fans will be on Merseyside to support him against a Liverpool veteran fighting in front of his home crowd.

Today is the last day of strenuous gym work for Ormond, who's sparring both Patrick Hyland and Marco McCullough. Collins reckons Ormond's in the best shape of his career.

"On Wednesday we did 10 really tough rounds for the third time," he says. "And Steve did everything we asked of him. He had every aspect of the game plan covered perfectly."

Those close to Ormond feel Mathews has no idea of the fighter who'll be arriving from Dublin. "For the last five weeks Steve has been working closely with psychologist and performance hypnotherapist Alan Heary, who worked with Steve Collins," explains Paschal. "It's amazing to see the self-belief that's coursing through the Rock now."

"This has been a perfect training camp," says Collins. "And Steve is really looking forward to this one. I asked him yesterday how he was and just said, 'I've trained hard for this. I'm going to destroy him'."