“Small Hall Fight of the Year” proclaims McGuigan as Cummings and Meli to put it “All on the Line”
By Diarmuid Sherry
Conrad Cumming (7-0) and Alfredo Meli (11-0) met today to promote their fight on November 20th at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on a Cyclone Promotions show, where they will put their records “All on the Line” as they contest for the BBBofC Celtic Middleweight Title.
Irish boxing legend and current Cummings mentor Barry McGuigan proclaimed that the fight will be “the small hall fight of the year.”
The show, titled “All on the Line” also has a domestic Featherweight dust-up confirmed between Marco McCullough (14-2) from Belfast and Jon Slowey (19-2) from Glasgow.
McGuigan commented on the competitiveness of the fight, saying that “the good thing about this fight, you don’t get kids with unbeaten records fighting each other anymore; it just doesn’t happen, not at this stage of their career. Alfredo is a very talented kid and believes that he can win, but I think that Conrad is undoubtedly a champion in the making.”
This is the first time both Cummings and Meli headline a promotion, in what will also be a Northern Irish derby, as Cummings hails from Coalisland whereas Meli is from Belfast.
Cummings praised Meli for taking the fight, but warned him he is not taking the contest lightly, and sees himself achieving better things in his boxing career.
“Hats off to Alfredo for taking the fight, not many opponents would take this fight. I’m training hard. I’m punching hard, and I’ll be ready for 10 long hard rounds, however long this fight may be. Every fight is a stepping stone. This is for the Celtic Title, but this is just a step up the ladder for where I want to be.”
Meli himself, believes that he can cause what would be considered an upset and defeat Cummings.
“I’m coming to fight and I’m coming believing that I can win. I feel confident and calm about it. It’s going to be a good fight.I know that I’ve been 10 rounds and I know that this fight will be a full 10 rounder. I’m coming to fight and I don’t hide. I’ll be there.”
The boxers have faced each other before in the amateur ranks, where Cummings came out on top, however all at the top table agreed that their previous meeting will have no bearing on the contest next month.
Of the amateur fight, Meli argued; “The amateur fight doesn’t make a difference. If anything it gives me even more hunger. But the amateur fight doesn’t really matter, we are at a different level and different league now. We are fighting at a higher level.”
Cummings warned that he has improved drastically since their previous meeting; “Since we fought in the amateurs, I know that he has improved, but I’ve improved five times the fighter that I was then.He is a volume puncher, but I’m a power puncher, and when I hit Meli with the smaller gloves, he will know about it.”
The pre-fight favourite is undoubtedly Cummings, although Meli is a very competitive underdog. Cummings has also gained further experience from sparring with WBO Middleweight Champion, Andy Lee, and Lee’s next challenger, and EBU Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders. McGuigan has big hopes for his man, and expects Cummings to come out on top in his most high-profile contest to date:
“He’s doing a lot of development in the gym, and he’s only had 7 professional fights, and it’s the level of confidence we have in him, that we let him fight an unbeaten kid for the Celtic Title. It’s a great opportunity for both of them, both of them are confident.
Conrad is getting so much better. He must show that he is the dominant fighter. He is a very overbearing character both outside the ring and inside the ring, that’s the way he is. Although he has to fight with intelligence because Meli is a volume puncher.
“Meli believes he can win this fight, but I believe he is making a mistake. If anything, I believe that Conrad has improved his punching power by 20-30 percent. Anthony Cacace won his last fight with a dramatic late finish (10th roynd TKO v Ronnie Clark), and I’ll think we will see something similar here in this fight between Conrad Cummings and Alfredo Meli.”