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Barry is backing Conrad to reign

By David Kelly

Manager Barry McGuigan believes he is handing middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings the perfect opportunity to take his career to the next level when he headlines at the Waterfront Hall on November 20.

Cummings will clash with fellow unbeaten fighter Fredo Meli over 10 rounds for the Celtic middleweight title in one of the most intriguing all-Northern Ireland battles in recent years.

Coalisland man Cummings and Belfast's Meli will go into the clash knowing that victory will propel the winner to the brink of a shot at the British title.

Former World champion McGuigan said: "Conrad is a very popular guy around mid-Ulster, he sells a good amount of tickets and now we believe that he can widen his appeal. He will make the boxing fans really sit up and take notice of him in what is a cracking fight between him and Alfredo Meli.

"We know what Conrad is capable of, we see it in the gym every day and we know how well he worked with top guys Billy Joe Saunders and Andy Lee - before Lee won the World title.

"Conrad was very comfortable in that environment, he exudes confidence and I have always thought that the bigger the fight, the better Conrad will fight. He's a pressure fighter and a big occasion fighter.

"We would have liked to have had him boxing more often but there's no point knocking over journeymen, it's better to be learning in the gym and then you can be pushed more quickly.

"This is a very important night for Conrad and we are not underestimating Alfredo Meli, who's a good unbeaten prospect and a volume puncher, and I believe that together they could make this a real small hall thriller.

"But we have every confidence that Conrad will come through and once you have been in a 10-rounder then all sorts of opportunities open up, whether that is the British, Commonwealth or European title.

"I think it's great that we can have a fight like this between two unbeaten Irish middleweight prospects, it would be great to see more all-Irish scraps but they're not easy to make because some managers are not prepared to take a risk so we are very pleased that Alio Wilton has been prepared to agree to the fight."

Cummings and Meli have met before when coming through the amateur ranks, and the Coalisland man known as 'Dynamite' has no doubt the result will be the same.

"I beat Meli as an amateur and I'll beat him again. It's completely different now, we're in a different sport and although I respect the challenge that Fredo brings, I think he will be surprised when he feels what is in front of him on November 20," said Cummings.

"I feel that the sparring I've had has made a huge difference, I am more relaxed and using my boxing and brain more. I'm still the same natural aggressive fighter but I have been polishing my skills.

"Being the centre of attention is great and I will show that."

The chief supporting fight will feature Shankill Road featherweight Marc McCullough, who returns to the ring on October 16 in Scotland.

Tickets for 'ALL ON THE LINE' are on sale from 9am today and available at Waterfront Box Office 02890334400 or at Priced from £35.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph