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Coalisland man Cummings has raised his game: Shane

By David Kelly

Shane McGuigan believes everything has clicked into place for Conrad Cummings to give an eye-catching performance at the Waterfront Hall tomorrow night.

Cummings meets fellow unbeaten middleweight Fredo Meli for the vacant Celtic title in the main event, while Marc McCullough faces Spain's Sergio Prado in the chief supporting fight.

McGuigan, in town yesterday for Carl Frampton's media tour with rival Scott Quigg, has been working solidly with the Coalisland man since he turned professional with Cyclone Promotions two years ago and is convinced that the time is right for the 24-year-old to start taking significant steps up the boxing ladder.

Tomorrow night Cummings and Meli clash not only for the Celtic title but the chance to open the path to a British or Commonwealth title and for the Coalisland man a place on the Frampton-Quigg undercard on February 27 would also seem to be on the line.

McGuigan, whose dad Barry manages Cummings, said: "It took Conrad some time to understand what is required to be a successful professional fighter and over the past two camps I have seen him really develop, everything is starting to click and his work in this camp has been great.

"As an amateur he would have bulldozed over people because he was so naturally strong but as a professional you need more than that - you can't just steamroller forward, so we have worked on that and he has developed a lot. He's working well with his jab and all-round he has improved a great deal and I believe you will see that in this fight with Meli.

"One thing that has always stood out with Conrad is his desire and dedication, every day he comes to the gym he gives it everything so from that point of view he's great to work with."

As for the clash with Meli, McGuigan is adamant that, although Cummings is seen as the favourite, the young coach is not in any way overlooking the threat of the Belfast man.

"Meli is going to set a very fast pace, he throws a lot of punches and Conrad is going to be prepared for that. It could be that Meli wins a couple of the opening rounds but by round four I expect Conrad to take control and gradually break him up," added McGuigan.

"I would think that in the later stages Conrad can step it up and stop him but it's going to be an exciting fight - I've no doubt that the fans will get value for money at the Waterfront.

"A win over Meli would then mean we can start looking at bigger titles for Conrad."

The Waterfront Hall bill will also feature rising Scottish prospect Josh Taylor.

Lightweight Taylor faces Romanian Daniel Cosmin Minescu, while Belfast's Paul Hyland Jr has been matched with Virgile Degonzaga and Matthew Wilton meets Mohamed Larabi.

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