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Cummings seeking the ideal end to year of pain

Big chance: Conrad Cummings is fired up for his title shot
Big chance: Conrad Cummings is fired up for his title shot
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Conrad Cummings stared at the bottle of vodka and wondered where his life was going, never mind his boxing career. Seven months on and he is fighting for the WBO European middleweight title.

The popular Coalisland middleweight lost the same belt to Luke Keeler at the Ulster Hall, leaving Cummings devastated. The Dubliner, who is now tracking towards a world title shot, had comprehensively outboxed him and he knew it.

Urinating blood days after the bout, Cummings admits he ended up in a dark place and the break-up with fiancee Beth just compounded his low point.

Eventually, in the summer, Cummings found a way out of the web of despair and returned to the ring last month for a routine win, and this Saturday night at the York Hall, Bethnal Green he faces Danny Dignum for the vacant belt which will gain the winner a top 15 rating with the WBO.

"I have to say that if it wasn't for my family I wouldn't have come through it and the person who has been my rock throughout all this has been my mother," said Cummings.

"One night just to get some sleep I got up and necked a quarter bottle of vodka. I just started drinking non-stop for about 10 days.

"I felt so lonely and I couldn't sleep after the defeat to Keeler.

"I was acting recklessly, acting in a man­ner that wasn't me and I just didn't know what I was going to do. It's only when I look back now having come out the other side that I realise how bad I was."

While Cummings views mother Patricia as his guiding light, the 28-year-old also points to the help given by dad Paddy and older brother Owen with whom he spent a great deal of time in Philadelphia, which coincided with Carl Frampton's return to the ring, which ultimately fell through due to a freak injury.

"I went to Philadelphia with my dad to spend time with Owen and also to take in Carl's fight. I had some great chats with Owen and started running every day and doing the pads with my dad and it really got me back on track," added Cummings.

"I stopped drinking and I haven't touched a drop since."

Cummings was happy with his performance at the Ulster Hall when he kick-started his career once again and believes that he can push on with victory over unbeaten Dignum.

A top amateur, Cummings has endured highs and lows as a professional and while some wondered if his second loss to Keeler earlier this year had ended his hopes of mixing it at a higher level, the 28-year-old is adamant that he can.

"This is a great opportunity for me. I feel good and I'm ready to grab this chance and show everyone that I have much more to offer," said Cummings.

"I know what I'm capable of in the ring and I just want to go out and do what I naturally do best.

"When I lost to Keeler I got the weight badly wrong and it showed in my performance but I have been controlling my weight better than I have for some time so I feel great going into this fight.

"I could have had another warm-up fight but when the chance was offered I accepted because I believe it's a risk worth taking.

"It would be some way to end the year if I can win this belt for a third time."

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