The Tyrone middleweight was held to a draw in his maiden headline title fight against Alfredo Meli, dropped a dubious decision to Ronny Mittag and, while he does now hold the WBO European title and a #14 ranking with the organisation, Cummings is probably not as far along in his career after four years as he would have envisioned when turning over with Barry McGuigan at the end of 2013.
Contrast this to the energetic Cummings who rounded out his amateur career as one of the most exciting prospects in world boxing, dropping opponents regularly, and bullying elite fighters in the World Series of Boxing.
A bulldozer pressure fighter, attempts were made to refine the Coalisland boxer’s skills – however many felt that this led to Cummings being caught between two styles, overthinking when in the ring, and generally not fighting to his ability.
Now though Cummings has departed the McGuigans set up and has linked up with new trainer Jamie Moore, a former Irish, British, Commonwealth, and European light middleweight champion – and an outstanding pressure fighter back in his day.
It’s been a match made in heaven since the pair linked up at the VIP Gym in Astley, with Cummings joined in the stable by top fighters around his weight such as Martin Murray and Rocky Fielding, as well as long-time friends Carl Frampton and Steven Ward.
Cummings is being let off the chain to do what he does best, and the 26 year old is looking to get back into the swing of things when he returns to the ring in Belfast on Friday December 1st.
‘Mr Dynamite’ fights on the Ginley Promotions ‘Danger at the Devenish 2’ bill at The Devenish Complex in West Belfast in what will be just his second fight of the year, having stopped Gogi Knezevic in the third round back in March to claim his WBO rankings title.
On the face of it, it has been a frustrating year with a cancelled title defence in July following Andres Gutierrez’s infamous shower slip followed by a split with the McGuigan’s, but Cummings is staying positive.
The Ulsterman told Irish-Boxing.com that he is “staying positive, I won that WBO European title in March then I was straight back into camp to help [George] Groves prepare for his fight, then training all Summer, a 13-week camp, loads of sparring – I know it’s just sparring, but I was still improving.”
“I was no doubt going to go in and box on the Odyssey show, put on a great performance, go in, defend my belt, and be Top 10 in the world.”
“It wasn’t meant to be, these things happen, but you have to look at the positive side, I’ve moved on now, I’ve been in camp ten weeks over in Manchester. Even though I haven’t been getting the things that I’ve wanted, I’m improving, I’m there, I’m much better, and that’s a good sign.”
Cummings is loving life in Manchester with Moore and reflected on how “I had a good time with the McGuigans, I achieved a lot, I had great experiences, but it was time to move on.”
“I’m really enjoying it over with Jamie. Jamie was a pressure fighter like myself.”
“It was really weird, I went out there expecting it to be balls deep, but it would go from hard to easy days and I never really had that, it used to be hard, hard, hard. Sometimes less is more, quality over quantity.”
“It’s an overused statement, especially in boxing, but I really feel like I am enjoying it, the best is yet to come.”
All of this is not to say that he will be forgetting all his development under Shane McGuigan in Battersea, but Cummings admits that going forward it will more of the ‘old’ Conrad.
“Don’t get me wrong, I totally feel like I have improved my boxing,” he said. “But I beat two Olympic silver medalists with my pressure fighting style. I was an elite level amateur, and if you were an elite level amateur there’s no reason that you can’t be as a pro.”
“It’s about finding a balance now, and even in my last fight you could see that I was starting to find that balance – eventually! Everything just sort of fell together, it just took a while to get that going.”
“Jamie knows what I do best and we’re working on that, and we’re doing some good stuff, onwards and upwards.”
First up is next weekend, a tool-sharpening exercise before a title return in 2018.
“I’m just excited to get back in there,” stated Cummings.
“I’m looking forward to getting out and I’ll push on big next year. I’m still WBO European champion, I’m world ranked, and I’m only 26.”