Boxing

Conrad Cummings "training at home" as he targets rumble with middleweight king Billy Joe Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders celebrates beating Willie Monroe Jnr in the WBO World Middleweight Championship bout at the Copper Box Arena, London on Saturday night

CONRAD Cummings has called out his former sparring partner, WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

The Tyrone fighter – who is currently training at home in Coalisland after a spell with Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions in London – says he would “jump at the chance” to take on the unbeaten southpaw who defended his title against Willie Munroe last Saturday night.

Cummings' close friend and former stablemate Carl Frampton recently split with the Cyclone Promotions camp and it had been reported that he had followed suit.

However, the Coalisland fighter refused to confirm that yesterday.

“I'm training at home at the minute,” he said, adding: “I'm sorting a few things out.”

Cummings last boxed back in March when he stopped Gogi Knezevic to win the vacant WBO European middleweight title. The former Clonoe and Holy Trinity ABC fighter says he would have no qualms about stepping up to world title level.

“Absolutely he (Saunders) is on my radar,” he said.

“OK, you look at my career and I've got 11 wins, one loss and a draw but my record doesn't do me justice. The loss comes from a fight I didn't lose and the draw was a bad performance against Alfredo Meli and I have made a lot of improvements since then.

“I've sparred Billy Joe in the past and I would be very confident of beating him. He's a phenomenal fighter, he's 25-0, but I believe in myself and I think I could take him. We'll see what happens.”

Cummings declined to comment on his spars with Saunders, saying: “I'll not get too deeply into that”, but it is obvious that he feels he could handle ‘Superb' if the two of them came to blows for real. Saunders has recorded wins over Chris Eubank jnr and Andy Lee in a professional career that began back in 2009.

“He is fast and he's a good fighter, I have nothing but respect for him,” said Cummings.

“But it's a fight that I would take. I would love the fight. He says he would take it, but would he? I'm a risk, so I'll have to wait and see.”

“There's going to be a rematch between Gennady Golovkin and ‘Canelo' Alvarez in May and, in his words, he (Saunders) wants a fight to keep busy. If I'm a fight to keep busy then bring it on. I would like one forward, but if I get the chance I'd jump at it.”

Saunders (28) hopes to return to action in December and has called out Golovkin and ‘Canelo' in the past.

“I don't think they will be ready for December, especially Canelo,” he said.

“I believe he's in talks with (Miguel) Cotto anyway but maybe Golovkin would have it because he's (nearly) 36 and that name alone would bring 25 per cent out of me. I knew that natural ability would see me beat Monroe but there's loads more to come.

“If they aren't ready I want to be out again in December. I want Golovkin to win because he's the invincible man and Dominic Ingle's fought him with Kell Brook. He's nearly 36 and if I'm not going to beat him now I will never beat him.

“I'm maturing now and I've got the beating of him. I'm not waiting around for anybody though. I want to be out of the game when I'm 31.

"There's no excuses now. They (Golovkin and Alvarez) both told me to get in shape. I'm in shape now and whoever wants it next, I'm game. If they want to be unified champion of all four titles they have to win my title.

“(My performance against Monroe jnr) was a big improvement on my last fight. There was stuff I wanted to try but if someone is running around on the back foot, it's hard. Every time I wanted to meet him in the middle he would run, but I got the win and that's the main thing.”

THE storm over judge Adalaide Byrd's controversial scoring of Saturday night's ‘Fight of the decade' showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has once again cast boxing in a negative light.

Dave Morretti scored the fight 11-5-113 to Golovkin and Don Trella had it a draw while Byrd has been axed as a judge after she scored the fight 118-110 in favour of Alvarez (giving Golovkin just two rounds).

Kazak ‘GGG' described her decision as “a blight on boxing” while Carl Frampton posted on Twitter: “The world's eyes are on boxing for good reason and some judge has to go and f**k it all up” and Michael Conlan wrote: “118-110!!! That's bulls**t!!”

Neither fighter was knocked down nor seriously hurt during an absorbing battle for the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titles at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

A close contest was declared a draw but Byrd has come in for heavy criticism after awarding Alvarez 10 of the 12 rounds in a 118-110 verdict.

Fellow judge Dave Moretti gave Golovkin the nod 115-113 while Don Trella could not split the combatants as he returned a 114-114 result.

Golovkin was incredulous and reasoned that he landed more punches overall - 218 to Alvarez's 169 according to CompuBox statistics - and the fact that a portion of the pro-Mexican crowd booed the result as evidence that Byrd had erred.

The Kazakh told the post-fight press conference: "I saw computer, all total punches, I saw people's reaction.

"It's terrible, for me it's terrible. This is not correct, this is very bad for the sport."

Alvarez's promoter Oscar De La Hoya felt his charge won but he too was aghast at Byrd's decision, which caused a stir on social media with former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis among those to express his disgust.

De La Hoya said: "These guys fought their heart out, Gennady is a tremendous, tremendous champion and Canelo's a tremendous, tremendous champion. Everybody has their opinion but that's what made it such a great, great fight.

"The 118-110, I don't understand, I really don't. Byrd is a very competent judge but I just don't understand 118-110. I had Canelo winning seven-five. 118-110 is a shocker."

Alvarez also felt he had done enough to prise the middleweight straps away from Golovkin.

Speaking through a translator, the 27-year-old said: "I didn't base it on the scorecard, I wasn't taking points round-by-round but what I am sure of at the end of the fight was that I won. I have no doubt in my mind, I won the fight."

Alvarez - whose record now stands at 49 wins, 34 inside the distance, with one defeat and two draws - largely fought on the back foot in an effort to neutralise Golovkin's much-vaunted power.

Following a cagey opening couple of rounds, it seemed a tactic that would backfire with Golovkin forcing the issue behind a dominant jab but Alvarez finished strongly - winning the last three rounds on all of the judges' scorecards.

Golovkin (37-0-1, 33KOs) chastised his Mexican foe for his tactics, with the 35-year-old saying: “He talked too much before the fight. He said he's a true Mexican man (and that he would) bring Mexican style.

“(But) he moved every round, moving, not staying.”

The disputable decision means a rematch becomes a tantalising prospect, one Golovkin would relish as he said in the ring afterwards: "Look at my belts. I'm still the champion. Of course I want a rematch.”

Alvarez also seems keen, adding: "Yes, of course, obviously yes, if the people want it, yes.”

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