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Conrad Cummings ends year on a high with WBO Euro title joy

 

By David Mohan

Conrad Cummings scored a unanimous points win over Ferenc Berki at the Titanic Exhibition Centre last night to regain the WBO European middleweight title.

The Coalisland man got the nod on all three judges' scorecards (99-90, 98-91, 95-94) to put to rest his disappointment when losing out to Luke Keeler for the same belt back in April, having previously been in possession last year when defeating Gogi Knezevic last year.

Berki, a replacement for initial opponent Brian Rose, played his part in an entertaining scrap, but Cummings was always a step ahead and dropped the Hungarian in the 10th to underline his superiority.

He showed much more maturity and displayed some nice movement during the fight, sticking to the plan laid down by trainer Jamie Moore and looked back to his best for long stretches.

It was an obviously delighted Cummings who spoke afterwards as he finished 2018 in the perfect way.

"It's been a roller coaster 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. 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, with Cummings displaying some nice 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 with the Dubliner looking on from ringside.

The victory gets 'Mr Dynamite's' career back on track as 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," added Cummings.

"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."

Belfast Telegraph

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