Boxing

Conrad Cummings would relish rematch with Luke Keeler

Sean McComb hopes to make his professional debut at Windsor Park on August 18

CONRAD Cummings says he over-trained for his first meeting with Luke Keeler and insists he'll beat his Dublin rival if he gets a rematch.

The Coalisland middleweight returns to the ring at Windsor Park on Saturday, August 18, having been comprehensively out-pointed by middleweight Keeler when they met for the vacant WBO European title back in April.

Peter Taylor coached Keeler won round after round that night against an under par Cummings (now 13-2-1) who admits that the chances of a quick return against the Dubliner are slim despite his confidence in reversing the result.

“I would love the rematch,” he said.

“But I haven't been calling for it because Luke will say: ‘I beat you the first time, why go again?' and I would be thinking the same if I'd won. I lost the fight fair and square, but I would love to do it again. I know the result would be different next time.

“I'm glad to be back so soon after that defeat. It was a bad night for me and I underperformed massively, but it is what it is and I have to take it on the chin and get back on the horse.

“It was a hard one to get over because there was a belt on the line, I was fighting at home and I was looking forward to getting the momentum going after a stop-start time. Good luck to Luke Keeler. He performed well, got the win.”

Cummings (27) is back in Manchester training under Jamie Moore and living in an apartment with Carl Frampton and Steven Ward. He believes a four-month training camp was one of the reasons behind the loss.

“My camp was far too long for the fight and I was over-cooked,” he said.

“I have reassessed and I am just having an eight-week camp, I have a strength and conditioning guy on board and I have learned the hard way.”

He added: “It is great having people like Carl and Steven around me.

“They take the mickey out of me, but they give me a lift and it is great being in the same environment as them.

“It is not the end of the world and nobody has died here. I will be back to my best.

“It is not a loss if you learn from it. I am my own worst critic and for six weeks I was very down, but that is a good thing. It shows me how much I love this sport.”

The BT Sport televised card is topped by Frampton who defends his interim WBO featherweight title against Australian Luke Jackson.

Lineal heavyweight king Tyson Fury faces a step up when he tackles two-time world title challenger Francesco Pianeta.

In only his sixth professional fight, Paddy Barnes challenges WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales. Cummings rival Keeler is also on the bill which includes a tremendous light-heavyweight clash between Ward and Dubliner Steve Collins Jr. Also in action are KO king Lewis Crocker and Marco McCullough.

THE race is on to secure professional boxing licences for Steven Donnelly and Sean McComb, who both hope to begin their pro careers on the ground-breaking Windsor Park card.

The Irish News understands that the British Boxing Board of Control has not received licence applications from either fighter ahead of the August 18 spectacular, which is headlined by Carl Frampton's showdown with Australian underdog Luke Jackson.

Two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Donnelly hopes to debut at light-middleweight while former Northern Ireland boxing team captain McComb also hopes to join Frampton, Tyson Fury and Paddy Barnes on the show.

Donnelly told MTK: “You want a big stage to make your debut on and this time last year, it's strange to think I was ready to give it all up. Now I've trained hard and it's a huge pro debut on the table.

“Belfast is definitely turning into the fight capital of Europe. You've all the talented fighters turning pro and MTK Global are making the moves. I just can't wait to get in there and start showing what I can do.

“Michael Conlan's homecoming was a great atmosphere, but Windsor Park holds more than The SSE Arena and it'll be packed to the rafters.

“It's just a great occasion and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.”

Former Holy Trinity star McComb had hoped to make his professional debut on the Michael Conlan ‘Homecoming' undercard at the SSE Arena last month.

“I'm eager to fight at Windsor Park,” he said.

“I know it can be a bad thing that you try and push it too hard to look good. I'll be completely relaxed and I won't be looking for a knockout.

“A lot of people have a lot of time for me in Belfast because I'm a genuine guy. I just get on and don't call people out or have an ego about me. I get on well with everyone. I'm expecting a good atmosphere.

“It's massive to be part of something like this on your debut. There are so many great fighters – Carl Frampton, Tyson Fury, Paddy Barnes and loads more – and they're all on the same bill. It's huge to be on this card and I'm proud.”

HEAVYWEIGHT David Price is keen to serve up a reminder of his undoubted punching power when he returns to action at Bolton's Macron Stadium on Saturday.

The former British and Commonwealth champion tops the Manchester bill just four months after he was knocked out for the fifth time in his career in a titanic clash with number one-ranked Alexander Povetkin at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

Povetkin's win paved the way for a super-fight against Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium in September while 35-year-old Liverpudlian Price retains an unshakeable determination to finally force his way to a world title shot.

“I prefer this pressure because it means people are expecting you to do well and that's positive,” he said.

“The fights in which people you say you've got nothing to lose give you freedom but the key is to fight with freedom whether there's pressure or not.

“Motivating yourself for these kind of fights is very different but I've done everything I'm meant to do in training and cut no corners. The bigger and better the opponent, the more it whets my appetite but I know this fight can put me back in front of another big threat.

“There are some massive upsides there and available for me in Bolton. I really want to get this win and hope that something bigger will present itself afterwards.

“I'm really grateful for this opportunity to fight. I'm managed by MTK Global and at the moment I have no promoter so they're bending over backwards for me to get me out and get me back on the winning trail.”

Price is joined on the bill by unbeaten middleweight Ben Sheedy who challenges Matthew Wigglesworth for the Central Area title.

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