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Composed Conrad Cummings promises more to come in 2019

Conrad Cummings [16(7)-2(0)-1] reclaimed the WBO European middleweight rankings title on Friday night and hopes for a “very exciting” 2019.

There was disappointment when former world title challenger Brian Rose pulled out of the vacant title fight with the Tyrone boxer but Cummings couldn’t afford to lose focus.

Unbeaten Hungarian Ferenc Berki, his nation’s champion at light middleweight, was brought in on late notice and certainly came to Belfast to win.

The young Magyar tried to draw Cummings into a scrap at the Titanic Exhibition Centre but the Coalisland man stayed composed and methodically broke Berki down to claim a unanimous decision win [99-90, 98-91, 95-94].

Reflecting on the fight, Cummings described how “I was in total control but it was a good opponent who pushed me hard.”

“He was young, hungry, and didn’t lay down but I stuck to the plan.”

“A couple of times I wanted to get involved in a fight which I can be guilty of, a lot, but I stuck to my gameplan, stuck to my boxing.”

“I enjoyed that. It was a disciplined performance and it sets myself up for a very exciting 2019.”

Cummings sent Berki down in the tenth and final round but didn’t rush in looking for the finish, instead boxing to orders.

‘Mr Dynamite’ noted how “I had him gone in the last round and there’s always that part of you that wants to go and ‘have it’, so to speak, but I stuck to my gameplan and discipline and stuck to boxing and it was a clinical performance.”

The 27-year-old, who held the WBO European belt for a period in 2017, is likely to return to the organisation’s world rankings in their next update and Cummings wants big fights in 2019.

One of these could be Dubliner Luke Keeler, the last holder of the rankings belt following his0 win over Cummings in a vacant title fight back in April.

Keeler [15(5)-2(1)-1] had been due to defend versus Rose next weekend but pulled out with a back injury and allowed the belt to be put on the line for the Blackpool boxer’s proposed clash with Cummings – with the winner having to face him in the new year.

A rematch still appeals to Cummings however, considering the circumstances of his win, it does not look like a natural next fight like it would have had it been Rose that he defeated.

Indeed, there was no face-to-face with Keeler in the ring afterwards despite the Ballyfermot boxer providing ringside commentary for the bout.

“Of course, Keeler is a fight I’d like to avenge but I’m going to enjoy this for the moment,” said Cummings who is now looking at next year in more general terms rather than with a sole Keeler focus.

The Ulsterman had been offered a British title fight versus Mark Heffron but instead went with Rose. Heffon and Liam Williams contest the Lonsdale belt on the Warrington-Frampton pay-per-view undercard in Manchester on December 22nd and Cummings may fancy a shot at the winner – while the Commonwealth title is another big target.

“I’ll take a few weeks off, it’s been a very busy year, six fights in the last twelve months. I’ve settled in to my new team. There’s much more to come.”

“I’ve set myself up for a very exciting 2019.”


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie