Boxing

Conrad Cummings on the brink of major breakthrough in middleweight title rumble

STANDFIRST

BANG ON THE MONEY: Conrad ‘Dynamite’ Cummings (right) takes on German Ronny Mittag at the Wembley Arena on Friday night
Andy Watters

CONRAD Cummings is on the brink of a major breakthrough in his career when he takes on experienced German Ronny Mittag for the IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.

The Coalisland native has given glimpses of his ability throughout his 10-0-1 career, but the best of ‘Dynamite' has yet to come.

“All the work is done, I've had a good camp, it's just getting the last few pounds off now and then it's full steam ahead,” he said yesterday.

“I've put the work in and I'm just going to enjoy it and stay calm – sometimes I can get a little bit excited! – and take it all in.

“I've been working a lot on speed, on the jab, moving the head and being a bit more methodical in my attack. I want to show my true worth and I'm going to stick to my boxing in this fight – it's a massive step-up taking on a guy who has only lost once in the last 10 years.”

Mittag's defeat was a split decision loss to Nuhu Lawal, who stepped in at late notice and took Martin Murray all the way in a WBA Continental super-middleweight title rumble in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.

“He's a handful,” Cummings agreed.

“It's a big step, but I'm ready, I'm focussed and I'm going to show my skill set.

“I'm sure he has trained hard, he has a typical European style with a high guard but I like that, I can break that down.

“I'll start with the jab and the feints and time him. I'm going to take it one round at a time and get the job done and take the belt home.

“We have focussed a lot on ourselves for this fight. Sometimes in the past I've took my eyes off the ball and looked past opponents – maybe just subliminally – but not this time and I'm confident I'll take care of him.”

Since his draw against Alfredo Meli last year, Cummings has comfortably beaten three opponents with winning records. After impressing on the undercard of Cyclone stablemates Carl Frampton's world title win in New York, he is determined to build towards an exciting 2017.

“You're going to see the same, but better,” he predicted.

“I like to attack but there's going to be a lot more thinking in my attacks – before I've been taking too many chances, but this time I'll be taking my time and hitting him with lots of jabs and being more methodical.

“I'll break him down round by round and I'll be switched on from start to finish.”

Cummings will be live on Spike (channel 160) or possibly channel Five and intends to showcase his skills.

“It's a massive title that will give me a world ranking,” he said.

“I'm going to really enjoy it, got out there and show my true potential.”

Friday night's show is headlined by George Groves' WBA International super-middleweight title rumble with Eduard Gutknecht.

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PADDY Gallagher can force his way into contention for a Commonwealth title shot if he can see off unbeaten Tamuka Mucha (15-0) at Wembley Arena on Friday night.

Celtic welterweight titlist Gallagher is facing a genuine test against the Zimbabwe-born Mucha who holds a win over Erick Ochieng – the man who inflicted the first defeat of Gallagher's pro career.

John Breen-trained ‘Pad Man' has fought just once since last November, but said he had no hesitation in taking the fight.

“I'm looking forward to it as always,” he said

“It's a very hard fight – he's 15-0 with four knockouts and he's been pretty active. He has a couple of good wins on his record so it is going to be a hard fight. What he does, he does well but I just have to go in and do what I can.”

Gallagher had been in training for a fight on the Josh Taylor undercard in October and when it fell through he continued his camp and is in good shape for Friday night.

“I was training away with Lewis Crocker (who was expected to make his pro debut at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5) and I just kept going anyway,” he said.

“I got confirmation about this fight so it worked out well because I had a load of rounds of sparring done.

“Me and Lewis did 80-odd rounds and then I got a sparring partner in for the last couple of weeks so I've been very busy. In nearly every fight you'll get at least a round when you'll have to dig in so it's good to know that you can go into the trenches and show what you're made of.”

Gallagher will be viewed in some quarters as the underdog in this one, but he upset Tony Dixon to win his Celtic title and his punching power and the slick skills that won him a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games mean he is capable of grabbing public attention on Friday night.

“They (Cyclone Promotions) are talking about going down the Commonwealth title road,” he explained.

“If I got a shot at the British title I'd take it of course, but they are talking about the Commonwealth so I'd take a shot at that.

“It's a good show at Wembley Arena and it's on TV. Hopefully I'll put on a good show, get a good bit of recognition and move on.”

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RIGHT HOOKS

TOMMY McCarthy takes on Matty Askin on Saturday night with the winner going on to face Craig Kennedy for the British cruiserweight title early next year.

Askin (20-3-1) is tough and aggressive but McCarthy (9-0) should be a class above the Blackpool hardman. Despite that he is prepared for a war against Askin whose three losses came in title fights against Ovill McKenzie, Krzysztof Glowacki and Jon Lewis Dickinson (who lost a decision to McCarthy in May).

“He's been a pro for nearly 10 years and he's still operating at domestic level so if he hasn't done it by now he's never going to do it,” said the Lendaoon native.

“He's a good domestic level fighter but I've got ambitions to go beyond domestic level and I'm very confident of beating him. I've trained hard and sparred great so I'm looking forward to it.”

Askin lost a British title challenge to McKenzie last year and could view beating McCarthy as his last chance to break into the big time after eight years as a pro.

“He's dangerous, of course,” said McCarthy.

“He's got a good record and he's been around for a long time. He's had a shot at the British title and it hasn't worked out for him.

ANTHONY Cacace gets his second fight of 2016 on the undercard of McCarthy-Askin in Manchester on Saturday night.

The Belfast super-featherweight (14-0) has been added to the bill at the Victoria Warehouse and will hope to progress a promising career that saw him win the Celtic title last near in his final fight with Cyclone Promotions.

Now trained by Brian Magee and managed by Pat Magee, Cacace had secured a fight with British champion Martin J Ward, taking the mandatory challenger's spot by default due to the withdrawal of George Jupp.

However, an oversight by the British Boxing Board of Control saw Maxi Hughes installed as mandatory challenger – as the Englishman had previously stepped aside to allow the September title fight between Ward and Andy Townend.

LUKE Wilton – who called out Paddy Barnes after the two-time Olympic medal winner made his pro debut last week – and brother Matthew are scheduled return to action on a ‘We're back' fight night in the Shorts Sports and Social Club on November 27.

Luke (16-5-1) hasn't fought since losing to Charlie Edwards on the Frampton-Quigg undercard in February while Matthew (13-0) hasn't seen any action this year.

The bill is headlined by the super-lightweight showdown between Stephen Carroll (4-0) and James Gorman (8-29-1) and also features Casey Blair, Mathew Fitzsimons, Willie Thompson and Tony Nellins.

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Boxing