Conrad Cummings admits chance to box at Olympics would be tempting
HE may disagree with professional boxers competing at the Olympic Games, but pro middleweight Conrad Cummings admits the opportunity to go for gold in Rio this summer would be tempting.
The undefeated Coalisland banger says he “wouldn’t rule out” the possibility of throwing his name into the hat for the Games, after the International Boxing Association yesterday voted in favour of granting professional fighters eligibility for the Olympics.
The middleweight spot on the Irish team bound for Brazil has yet to be filled, with either Michael O’Reilly or Conor Wallace aiming to secure their place in Rio at the final Olympic qualifier in Azerbaijan later this month.
Should either O’Reilly or Wallace fail to qualify, it could open the door to the likes of Cummings – or even former world champion Andy Lee - if the Irish Amateur Boxing Association chose to send anybody to the professional qualifying event in Venezuela from July 3-8.
With the 25-year-old set to fight on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s featherweight world title showdown with Leo Santa Cruz in New York on July 30 – 16 days before the middleweight competition gets under way in Rio - the timeframe is unlikely to suit.
But Cummings says it is something he will look into.
“It’s hard to know, I’d need to know more details. I wouldn’t rule it out – put it that way,” he said.
“I’m always open to possibilities. People say to me ‘three rounds, it’d be hard to go back to that’ - my problem is I fight too hard of a pace, so that would be no issue.
“I would love that, you wouldn’t keep me off for three rounds.”
You could understand Cummings for feeling he has a bit of unfinished business where the amateur game is concerned.
The former Holy Trinity fighter was involved in a ding-dong battle with Darren O’Neill in the Irish Elite final before the 2012 Olympic Games, only for the bell to ring over 30 seconds early in the final round with the Kilkenny man ahead by a point.
O’Neill went on to captain the Irish boxing squad in London, and Cummings admits those memories still leave a sour taste.
He added: “I don’t want to dig up the past but, at the end of the day, it’s the Olympics, and that was a dream from I was a kid.
“I turned over because I felt I wasn’t getting looked after as well as I could’ve been. I always wanted to be a professional and I had the opportunity to join a great team and I moved on. But the Olympic dream is something everybody has.
“My dream is to be a world champion so, going back to the Olympics, would it benefit me? I don’t know.
“It’s definitely interesting, but it’s all very sketchy at the minute.”
Despite his own interest in the latest development, Cummings feels the decision to allow professional boxers into the Olympics is a bad move.
“It’s sort of taking away the whole feel of the Olympics. It’s supposed to be the best amateurs who have worked their whole lives to get to that stage, and the best fight the best.
“I feel it’s a wee bit unfair for the amateurs. It takes away the prestige and the history of the whole thing.”