Boxing

Conrad Cummings eyeing big 2019 after landing European title with Titanic show

Conrad Cummings prepares to unload a right hand on Ferenc Berki during last Friday night's WBO European middleweight title bout. Picture by Mark Marlow
From David Mohan at Titanic Exhibition Centre

WITH the WBO European middleweight title back in his possession, Conrad Cummings is planning on a big 2019 following his unanimous points victory over Ferenc Berki at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on Friday night.

'Mr Dynamite' displayed some major improvements as he out-foxed and out-boxed the previously unbeaten Hungarian over 10 rounds (99-90, 98-91, 95-94) to draw a line in the sand following his defeat to Luke Keeper for the same belt back in April.

The Coalisland man had won the strap against Gogi Knezevic last year, but with a change in team and management since, it was something of a rebirth on Friday as he got his career back on track and regained a spot in the WBO rankings.

His display on the night had trainer, Jamie Moore's paw prints all over as he showed much more maturity, using some excellent movement to create angles and it was his body work that shone brightest, with a Berki going down in the final frame to underline his superiority.

Despite the replacement opponent following an injury to Brian Rose a week previous, Cummings stuck to the plan and boxed to orders as he rounded off a busy and bittersweet year with a belt around his waist.

"It's been a rollercoaster of a year," said the now 16-2-1 Tyrone man.

"I changed team and management, but I'm back now and the best is to come.

"He (Berki) was unbeaten before tonight. He gave me a fight, but I stuck to the plan and I listened to Jamie Moore who is bringing my game onto another level. I controlled the distance better and I enjoyed it."

Cummimgs found it hard to pierce the tight jab of Berki in the initial stages, but took the first.

He was being countered in the second as the visitor nicked the round, but Cummings gradually got into his stride, targeting the body as he marched forward.

It appeared the body attack was beginning to take its toll on Berki in the fourth as he was breathing heavily with Cummings displaying some excellent movement to create the angles.

It was more of the same in the fifth with Cummings again showing patience and piercing the guard with solid jabs as Berki's right eye began to swell.

The Hungarian was certainly durable and he enjoyed some good moments with his counters drawing roars of approval from his corner, but he couldn't put the home favourite under any real pressure.

Cummings was finishing the rounds much stronger, varying his attacks from body to head even though he was being given little to aim at, but brought his support to their feet with a beautiful right in the eighth.

Cummings controlled the ninth with his jab and in the final round, both men went toe-to-toe as they swung heavy shots, but it was a short left to the temple that dropped Berki and broke his resistance.

To his credit, he saw out the round, but there was only one winner on the night as Cummings gained some form of redemption for his loss to Keeler back in spring.

"He has been guilty in the past of being dragged into a fight too easily," said trainer, Jamie Moore after.

"He has been doing stuff like tonight in the gym, but wasn't carrying it over into the ring. He's started to do that now, so that's all you can ask for.

"I've asked him to work on his defence and use lateral movement, so all we were working on, he showed it tonight."

Friday's victory gets Cummings' career back on track and he can now move into 2019 with realistic goals of ascending the WBO rankings and pushing for further glory.

"I have had a busy year, six fights with a new team," he added.

"I think there's more to come and now I'm starting to show what I'm doing in the gym and I'm looking forward to the New Year."

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