No Fluke! Luke Keeler proves luck had nothing to do with first Cummings win


Luke Keeler proved luck had nothing to do with his first win over fellow Irish middleweight Conrad Cummings with rematch repeat in an atmospheric Ulster Hall tonight. 

Cumming’s had suggested his managerial stable mate had benefited from fortune when the pair meet in Belfast last April- and in the build up to an eagerly anticipated bout warned the Ballyfermot native ‘you don’t win the lotto twice’.

Yet, while Keeler hasn’t access to the lottery numbers, he did prove he has the Coalisland fighter’s number by producing a second successive win over his fellow WBO top 15 middle in their world title eliminator.

A battered and bruised Cummings did show massive resolve and bullish stubbornness but, despite having success in the middle rounds, he was out fought and boxed by his rival in a highly entertaining fight.

Indeed Keeler won the repeat as wide as 92-98, 92-98, 91-99 across the three cards.

The first stanza belonged to Keeler- working off a ‘be first’ mantra he set the pace. An early left set the tone and the Ballyfermot man landed all the scoring punches.

However, Cummings looked relaxed, even quite happy and the fact his corner were not to animated had some ringside asking if the slow start was deliberate.

The second round followed a similar pattern although Keeler did land one big left hook after backing his rival to the ropes and Cummings added a left of note himself.

Keeler exploded out of the blocks in the third. He opened up a cut over Cummings eye with what looked a left hook and the stoppage he predicted looked on the cards.

However, with his well-populated corner screaming for him to go to the kill, Cummings sprung a left hook from the back of the ropes to give the Pete Taylor-trained fighter a Tom Doran-style scare.

Keeler continued to back Cummings up in the fourth but wasn’t as vicious or eager to load up.

Cummings awoke from his slumber in the fifth stanza. The bloodied and bruised battler bulled forward and put the press on. Keeler looked content on the back foot, but The Tyrone fighter won the round.

Mr Dynamite’s fans also rejoiced in renewed hope and the fighter began to feed off it in the sixth.

With nothing to lose and possibly freed of thinking of any pre fight game plan, Cummings looked just happy to be pressuring Keeler to the ropes and throwing big shots. He had success and took some punishment from the accurate Dub on the way in, but most noticeably was enjoying the brutality.

Keeler was conscious not to back up in the seventh and enjoyed some success boxing and moving. It appeared the tide had turned back in the challenger’s favour, but Cummings was in with a shout of winning the eight right up and until he ate three big right hands at the tail end of the stanza.

‘Cool Hand’ was back on the jab and picking his shots and it saw him edge the penultimate round.

He pushed his chest out in the tenth and final round, held the center of the ring and walked his opponent on to a host of clean shots. Cummings somehow kept coming and was beyond brave to the last, but there was never going to be a Maxwell moment.

The victory sees the 31-year-old reclaim the WBO European ranking title he first claimed versus Cummings in their first meeting but vacated to allow the Jamie Moore trained fighter win it back while he was out injured.

Having turned down the chance to fight established gate keeper and known American name Gabriel Rosado alongside the likes of Katie Taylor and Jono Carroll, the Irish middleweight champion will be now hoping a similar opportunity arises.

It’s a case of back to the drawing board for Cummings, but he remains something of a high-profile fighter and retains his status as a respected operator suggesting another break =through chance is never too far away.

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com