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Cummings is chomping at the bit for Riojas challenge

Conrad Cummings admits he has been akin to a caged animal, just eager to let loose on his next opponent, and tomorrow night at the Don Haskins Centre in El Paso, he has the opportunity when he faces Texan Oscar Riojas, writes David Kelly.

The unbeaten Coalisland middleweight prospect is aiming to chalk up a seventh straight victory on the undercard to stablemate Carl Frampton's defence of his IBF World title against Alejandro Gonzalez jr.

Cummings had travelled out here with Team Frampton two weeks ago and has trained alongside the Jackal, but it was only a couple of days ago that his place on the bill was rubber-stamped.

"Mentally it has been a tough camp for me, it's been very long and now I am just raring to go - when I got the word I was on the bill I was buzzing," said Cummings.

"I had hoped to be out in June but things fell through and that's what can happen in professional boxing.

"You have to be patient but it can be hard.

"Thankfully the team have got me in against this guy Riojas who is a very tough 31-year-old - he's only boxing two years but has already boxed 12 rounds and only lost once.

"He's a big guy, he has normally boxed at super-middleweight or light-heavyweight but for this one he is going to come in around 165lb, which is five pounds over the middleweight limit.

"I'll probably be around two pounds lighter."

Cummings has enjoyed working out in the El Paso gym along with Frampton and Scotland's Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josh Taylor, the latest recruit to Cyclone Promotions, but admits it has been challenging in the heat.

"It's been so hot in the gym, at least 100 degrees - you think you're melting!" he added.

"Every session has been really tough and it really stretches you but at the same time it certainly helps you make weight a lot easier.

"It's going to be a bit different, fighting in the afternoon but I'm kind of used to that type of thing after my days as an amateur in the World Series of Boxing.

"I was boxing at all sorts of times and often I was the away boxer, so there was a lot of travelling.

"To have my seventh fight in America and on another Carl Frampton World title fight is a real honour for me and that's the way my career has been. I know a lot of guys have to regularly box on small shows to make their way through the professional ranks but I have been fortunate to box on big shows and of course the night Carl won the World title at Titantic was really special.

"I really feel that I am twice the boxer I was. Working behind closed doors I have worked and developed a lot of aspects to my game and I want to show that improvement on Saturday. I just need to stay nice and relaxed and let the punches flow rather than trying to out-muscle guys which I would have been doing a lot.

"I really hope that a win on Saturday will kick-start an exciting few months for me."

Belfast Telegraph


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