MTK Belfast Preview: Cummings vs Berki
By Ben Blackwell
MTK Global this upcoming Friday (7th December) will return to the Emerald Isle and the City of Belfast with WBO European title action along with a number of talents from within the MTK Global stable. The action will be broadcast live on IFLTV via Youtube with the action taking place at the Titanic exhibition centre in the Northern Ireland capital.
The card has been somewhat unfortunate to lose former Lord Lonsdale belt owner and former world title challenger, Brian Rose from the bill. Brian was scheduled to face Conrad Cummings and contest the vacant WBO European middleweight title. Sadly Brian confirmed that he is still struggling with an shoulder injury which he sustained in his last contest against Alistair Warren on the Ninth of November in Manchester. In addition to Brian’s forced withdrawal from the card, Lewis Crocker and Tyrone McCullagh have also been taken off the card by MTK with injuries.
Conrad Cummings (15-2-1) will still challenge for the vacant WBO European crown with unbeaten Hungarian, Ferenc Berki (11-0) coming in to stand in the opposite corner on Friday. Cummings is no stranger to this title having previously challenging for the vacant title in April on this year against Luke Keeler. However, Cummings was outfought and ultimately outclassed by the Dubliner via unanimous points verdict. The Coalisand native Cummings will be hoping for a much improved performance than the one in April. Cummings has gone down the correct route so far with two outings since his April defeat claiming victories against former Commonwealth title challenger Nicky Jenman and Jan Balog.
Cummings is now starting to bed in well with trainers Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis as like every trainer change, it takes time to get accustomed to new faces, ideas and tactics in competition conditions. So far since the Keeler defeat things have changed for the better.
Berki will not be coming to lay down and roll over for Cummings. Any undefeated fighter poses dangers but the 23-year-old Hungarian is making a huge step in opponent calibre in comparison to what he so far face in his young career so far. This will be Berki will also be fighting for the first time in ten months along with with a move up in weight also, having previously contesting down at super-welterweight. Berki is also the current holder on the Hungarian super-welterweight title and winning the accolade in February of this year against Laszlo Fazekas.
Featuring also on the bill includes arguably the most exciting prospect in Irish professional boxing with unbeaten 22-year-old Gary Cully (6-0) of Kildare. Lightweight Cully as an Amateur has six Irish junior titles along with a European junior gold medal, was tipped for Tokyo 2020 following David Oliver Joyce’s descion to turn pro after the Rio 2016 games. Cully however decided to turn professional in 2017 and is an exciting south-paw who stands at 6ft 1 inches and is already targeting former British champions as possible foes in the near future. Gary has already put a target on the back of the former Central area, English and British lightweight champion Robbie Barrett, who currently holds the IBF European lightweight strap. Cully last time out in October claimed a very impressive stoppage over known entity Jordan Ellison inside three rounds and faces Mohammed Kambuluta (18-5) of Tanzania over eight rounds.
Paddy Gallagher (14-4) returns following his BUI (Boxing Union Of Ireland) Celtic welterweight title victory over Jay Byrne in October and faces Fernando Valencia (8-7) over six. Byrne previously this year could count himself unfortunate not to proceed in the WBC’s welterweight tournament following a controversial split descion loss to Brad Soloman (27-1) in February.
Former Irish amateur stand-out Phillip Sutcliffe Jnr (14-2) will return after a lengthy lay-off of twelve months as he faces Eligio Palacios over six rounds. Sutcliffe Jnr returns to the ring and is by many unlucky to have two defeats on the slate with a controversial points defeat to former EBU super-lightweight champion Anthony Yigit (2016) and in what Sutcliffe claims a controversial stoppage defeat to Josh Leather (2017). Sutcliffe’s most stand-out win so far came in November 2016 against former Prizefighter champion and two-time British title challenger Chris Jenkins in a fight of the year contender.
Steve Collins Jr, the son of former WBO super-middleweight world champion Steve Collins, will return for the first time following his BUI Celtic light-heavyweight title defeat to MTK stable-mate Steven Ward. The contest saw Collins Jr defeated by a wide points margin with Steven Ward claiming victory with a scorecard of 79-75. Collins Jr is to face Pawel Strykowski over four rounds on Friday night.
Lightweight Sean McComb (4-0) takes a step-up and faces the tricky Zoltan Szabo (23-13) over six rounds seeking to continue his impressive form following his pro-debut in August of this year. Super-Middleweight Padraig McCrory (5-0) will be seeking to round off his first calender year as a professional keeping his “0” intact as he faces Gabor Detre (5-4) over six rounds. Stephen Webb will be making his professional debut on the bill after a 2018 of false starts which has seen his debut previously delayed several times. Lightweight Webb will face Alec Bazza over four rounds.