Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Cyclone Promotions
Red-hot middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings has admitted that moving to London was exactly what he needed to aid his development as a professional. Even though the 22-year-old is still in the embryonic stages of his career, Cummings is already adapting to the new regime set out by trainer Shane McGuigan. Some quality sparring with the likes of former world title challenger Andy Lee will help bring him on even quicker.
“Shane’s been fantastic and I’ve been sparring the best middleweights in London and giving guys like Andy Lee something to think about,” enthused Conrad, who will fight for the second time as a pro on April 4.
“Training with Carl [Frampton] means I have to work up to that level. I’ve ticked all of the boxes, I’m mentally and physically prepared and there’s no reason for me to be nervous. Once I get into the ring and the bell rings then there will only be me and my opponent.”
Cummings will enjoy strong support on the night with a good crowd expected to travel to the Odyssey Arena from Coalisland. Conrad’s fan-friendly approach is always likely to bring in the crowds.
“I was taken back a bit when I saw the support I have and I want the fans to get behind me and enjoy my style. I’m all-action, I don’t mess about. Come fight night I’ll stick to my game plan and put in a good performance. It was definitely a good thing having the fight in the York Hall. That took a bit of the pressure off,” he added.
Even though this is Cummings’s first appearance in Belfast he did chalk up a six-round debut victory over Andrejs Loginovs in the aforementioned York Hall venue. Conrad’s second opponent will be veteran survivor Zahari Mustafchiev and Cummings is expected to put in to practice some of the technical work he has been doing in the gym.
“Everyone knows that he can come forward and bully his way through opponents, as he showed in the WSB and his amateur career,” agreed trainer Shane McGuigan. “He’s started to box at distance now and surprisingly he has very good footwork; he can step to the side or step back and that’s something we’ve been working on. He’s a completely different fighter from Carl Frampton but he has an impressive attacking style and you will see Conrad Cummings in great shape on April 4.”
Shane has been refining Cummings to box at range and use his jab and movement rather than reverting to type and slugging away on the inside – a tactic that has served him well thus far during his amateur and World Series of Boxing stints.
“Conrad’s been in camp with Carl and he’s only having his second fight but he’s come on leaps and bounds,” continued McGuigan.
“He sparred with Andy Lee in the build-up to this fight and he looked magnificent. Lee is a world-class middleweight and Conrad held his own. He’s improving all the time and what we want to do with him is create a little bit more distance because he’s amazing at close range but he’s much better at long range than he thinks he is and we are working on that.”