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Cummings can finally show his true potential: McGuigan

By David Kelly

Manager Barry McGuigan isn't sugar coating the importance of tonight's fight for middleweight Conrad Cummings, who is aiming to bounce back from the first defeat of his career.

Coalisland man Cummings has entered the fourth year of his professional life and is determined to make a statement of intent, having lost controversially to German Ronny Mittag last November.

This evening he meets Austrian Gogi Knezevic for the vacant WBO European title knowing a good victory will elevate him into the WBO's top 15 ratings and see him viewed as a serious threat on the British middleweight scene.

"It's a crucial fight for Conrad, he knows that and I believe he will step up to the plate," said McGuigan, whose Cyclone Promotions company stage this evening's bill in Edinburgh, which is headed by their Commonwealth super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor.

Cummings had a successful amateur career, enjoying some fine victories in the World Series of Boxing before turning professional with McGuigan and making his debut in February 2014. Since then he has had some entertaining wins, an exciting draw with Belfast man Fredo Meli and that defeat to Mittag when most in the Wembley Arena believed he deserved the decision.

A re-match with the German fell through but McGuigan quickly came up with this clash against 36-year-old Knezevic, an opportunity for 25-year-old Cummings to show the potential that his manager maintains has yet to be fully seen on fight night.

"I've seen Conrad have some really good spars with top fighters and it's been the same in this camp. He has worked with George Groves as well as some big light-heavyweights and cruiserweights. So we just want to see him transfer that into the ring," added McGuigan.

"He's a great guy, works very hard and he's in really good shape so the rest is up to him. This is a great opportunity for him, a chance to get himself a world ranking and his first title," he said.

"In the last fight I thought he did enough to win but there were things to learn from it. At times he was working very hard to get Mittag into good positions but just didn't pull the trigger, but he has been working very well on that in the gym.

"He's a naturally aggressive, attacking fighter and that's what we've been fine tuning in this camp.

"At this level it's all about the details, doing everything right - the diet, getting enough rest, the strength and conditioning... you have to because everybody else is probably doing the same.

"A win here and he can kick on and every fight afterwards is going to be a tough one.

"This is a great opportunity and I'm sure he'll grab it."

Cummings commented: "I'm ready to go.

"My sparring couldn't have gone any better."

Belfast Telegraph

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