Boxing

Conrad Cummings after revenge in WBO Euro title rematch with Luke Keeler

Conrad Cummings and Luke Keeler trade blows in their first meeting in April last year. Picture Mark Marlow.
Andy Watters

CONRAD Cummings says he's looking forward to “showing his true worth” when he takes on Luke Keeler for the second time at the Ulster Hall on March 29.

The Tyrone versus Dublin rumble sees the middleweight rivals battle it out for the WBO European title, the same belt they fought over in their first meeting back in April last year.

Dubliner Keeler went into that fight as the underdog but Cummings, lacking energy in his legs and power in his punches, barely won a round at the SSE Arena. The Coalisland fighter is determined to give a better account of himself in the rematch.

“I've said very little in the build-up because there's no point in lying – I lost the first fight fair and square,” he said.

“I have no excuses because the better man won on the night but we're looking forward to showing my true worth this time.

“A few things went wrong and I'm just delighted with the way things have worked out and I've got a chance to redeem myself.

“There were things in the background (before the first fight) but I don't want to get into them – the bottom line is that Luke performed well and I didn't.

“I'm getting ready now for the best Luke Keeler and he'll be getting the best Conrad Cummings. If we both bring our best, I'll win.

“That's all I have to do, I have to focus on getting myself in the best condition possible and that's what I've done, I've done everything right and I'm looking forward to it.”

Cummings, who won the WBO European belt back against Ferenc Berki last year after Keeler was forced to relinquish it because of injury, says he thought long and hard about his future in the sport after the loss.

“I took it hard and I questioned my future in boxing,” he said.

“I questioned everything, looking back I was the red-hot favourite and I did not expect to lose. It was a bad night and since it I've taken my opportunities.

“I've had some bad luck but I got some good fortune to get back in when he pulled out of the Rose fight. It's a massive fight, he's ranked number 11 in the world with the WBO, I'm ranked 14 and this fight is massive, it's the only fight that's on my mind at the minute and I'm looking forward to it.

“I've cut no corners, I've prepared well, worked hard and I'm prepared for the best Luke Keeler – I hope he's prepared for the best Conrad Cummings.

“There are big fights on the horizon for the winner and I believe that will be me.”

Keeler went into the first fight as the underdog and turned the tables spectacularly. Next weekend he'll be the favourite and Cummings feels that could play into his eager hands.

“We've swapped roles because I was the red-hot favourite and he was a massive underdog with the bookies,” he said.

“I maybe took my eye off the ball with a couple of things and he performed very well and won fair and square but the pressure is on him now, he won the first one so he has to come and do it again.

“I have had to eat humble pie and I've worked my ass off to get back into this position, I've had three good wins and I've won the WBO European title again.

“I'm just excited and looking forward to it. It should be a great night – the Ulster Hall is sold out, it's a great venue and I'm buzzing.”

Also appearing on the Ulster Hall bill are lightweight Gary Cully, Steve Collins Jr, Steven Ward, Tyrone McKenna, Tyrone McCullagh, Padraig McCrory, Sean McComb, Steven Donnelly and Taylor McGoldrick.

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