Cummings is handed points defeat by Irish rival Keeler
Conrad Cummings suffered a disappointing defeat to Luke Keeler at the SSE Arena on Saturday night in their WBO European middleweight title fight.
The scorecards read 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 and it was impossible to see it any other way as the Dubliner controlled the bout, set the pace, dictated terms and out-fought the Coalisland man.
Keeler had to come through some adversity as, by the mid-rounds, both eyes had nasty gashes above them from what appeared to be head-clashes, yet he rallied thanks to the sterling work of his corner to swat aside the injuries and assert himself throughout.
It will be a tough defeat to take for Cummings who just couldn't establish himself and looked in trouble in the second round from a hard right hand, but he gamely battled on and did enjoy slightly more success down the stretch, although it proved too little too late.
Earlier in the night, Tyrone McKenna scored a 98-92 points win over Anthony Upton in a welterweight bout to edge his way towards major title contention.
The west Belfast derby appeared to be going Upton's way in the early stages as he roughed up his much taller opponent, but as the fight wore on, McKenna began to take charge and a sickening body shot in the ninth felled Upton who did well to recover, but if there was any doubt, this effectively settled the argument.
"I thought I was comfortable and controlled it," said 'The Mighty Celt' after.
"I knew the first few rounds were going to be tricky.
"He is a slick boxer and I was just trying to work him out, but as the rounds went on I started landing cleaner and the better shots."
Chief support on the night was WBO bantamweight king Zolani Tete, who boxed his way to a shutout, 120-108 x3 decision over the unambitious Omar Andres Navaez, but there were fireworks elsewhere as rising star Lewis Crocker produced another stunning stoppage over Scott James after the main event.
Steven Ward was also a third round winner, taking care of Michael Ciach, while it was a somewhat frustrating night for Marc McCullough who scored a 60-53 points win over late replacement Arnoldo Solano.
Meanwhile, there were also handsome wins for Tyrone McCullagh, David Oliver Joyce, Troy Williamson, Sam Maxwell, Ryan Hatton and Alex Dickenson.