Jason Cunningham is The Underdog Who Never Misplaced Hope. Now he finds himself in an unfamiliar posture, writes Matt Bozeat
WHAT transpired to Jason Cunningham? Three losses in 4 fights in a 14-month spell had the trade expecting the Doncaster southpaw to wind down his job as a difficult opponent. He went into a problem for Gamal Yafai’s European tremendous-bantamweight title at 3 weeks’ notice past March as a huge outsider, but as it turned out, it was the appropriate fight for Cunningham. He won on details and at 32 yrs old, he is now on the lookout to include an alphabet belt to a CV that displays he’s won every single other important honour, which includes Commonwealth titles at three weights. On Saturday, Cunningham helps make the second defence of his European belt in Telford, versus Terry Le Couviour.
BT Sport televise.
“Super-bantamweight has constantly been my division,” claimed Cunningham, describing his Rocky story to Boxing News. “But I won the Commonwealth featherweight title at brief discover [against Ben Jones in April, 2017] and stayed there. When you have a little hall promoter, you have to go exactly where the prospects are and the opportunities have been at featherweight.”
Cunningham, skilled by Ray Doyle and Stefy Bull, says the hole involving 122lbs and 126lbs is ‘massive’.
“I’m enormous for super-bantamweight, but not fairly significant enough for featherweight against lads who are coming down. I have located my normal excess weight now and I have years and a long time of knowledge as very well.”
That showed when he defended his title from British and Commonwealth champion Brad Foster (14–2) past October.
“I confirmed I can box when I need to and battle when I need to,” mentioned Cunningham, who has his eighth title struggle at British level and earlier mentioned this weekend.
Le Couviour is a 27-calendar year-outdated from France has received all 16 fights (two early) in a nine-12 months professional vocation. He seems to be to be a volume puncher. Footage of his fights on YouTube reveals him finding his fingers up, strolling into range and then unloading hooks down and up.
The emphasize of his pro job so considerably was a greater part 12-spherical points get about Iuliano Gallo (9-2) for the vacant EU belt in the Italian’s household city in May, 2019.
Two judges experienced Le Couviour a issue up soon after he finished strongly and the other had them stage.
That was his initially – and only time – previous eight rounds.
Le Couviour hasn’t boxed because he stopped Georgian journeyman Edgari Sarkisiani (8-12-2) in six rounds in December, 2020, whilst Cunningham experienced the two greatest wins of his 30-6 vocation very last yr.
He dropped Yafai (18-1) 3 periods and then outpointed Foster. BT Activity had Foster up at the remaining bell, but three judges experienced the Yorkshireman successful 115-114, 114-113 and 116-112.
Had Foster not been docked a place in the eighth for lower blows, the struggle would have been a bulk draw.
Queensberry Promotions snapped up Cunningham and he had the BT Activity cameras in the gym filming him when Boxing Information rang him a couple of weeks in the past.
“It’s all about me for a modify,” reported Cunningham, who has a tattoo on his upper body that reads: “The Underdog Who Never ever Dropped Hope.’
The reality is, Cunningham, ABA gentle-flyweight champion in 2011, has been a superior fighter for several years. The 6 losses on his history have arrive versus major opposition and typically a short observe or at the mistaken body weight.
Kal Yafai dominated him and Reece Bellotti stopped him, but in his other losses, Cunningham had his moments. He shook Michael Conlan briefly prior to dropping on points in December, 2018.
In involving the losses, Cunningham has won belts from 112lbs all the way up to 126lbs, together with Commonwealth honours at 118lbs, 122lbs and 126lbs.
Le Couviour, who turned pro at 18 soon after winning 25 of his 30 novice bouts, appears to be like to be predominantly a entrance-foot fighter.
“He seems to be quite intense,” stated Cunningham of a challenger who’s around two inches shorter at 5ft 7ins.
“I consider I can split him down late on.”
Le Couviour claims to have within expertise of the champion, telling Boxing News he has labored “with an English mentor who is aware of Cunningham” without declaring any much more.
He will presumably have been informed Cunningham is large and robust at 122lbs, can box on the back again foot or struggle on the inside and has been prone to physique pictures.
Cunningham is also seasoned, unbeaten at 122lbs and has momentum and belief. “I’ve always thought in myself,” Cunningham claimed. “When I turned professional, I generally assumed: ‘European title minimum’ and I don’t assume a lot of men and women believed me. How far can I go now? I think I’m excellent adequate to get to the future degree.”
We just can’t see Le Couviour derailing all those ambitions. The Frenchman will definitely seem to get within Cunningham’s prolonged arms and enable his arms go, but Cunningham will have the solutions and can halt him late.
There was disappointment for Liverpool puncher Andrew Cain (8-) when Liam Davies was dominated out of their super-bantamweight 10 rounder with a shoulder harm.
Cain saw a win in excess of the 11- ticket seller as a “break out” battle for him.
The 25-calendar year-previous from the Everton Red Triangle gymnasium is nonetheless on the exhibit, boxing Pablo Ariel Gomez (15-10-2) around 10.
The Gomez report shows a break up details win more than a 44-yr-old model of two-pounds belt-holder Omar Andres Narvaez (49-3-2) in December, 2019.
Gomez has the glimpse of a fighter who’s realized the small business the tough way. A pro at 21, he gained only four of his initially 15 (two attracts), but caught at it and is 11-1 in his previous 12. In opposition to Narvaez, he manufactured himself tricky to strike and when he did just take a punch, he fired back with 3 or 4.
He’s been stopped 2 times, but may perhaps not see Cain’s punches coming. Cain, who has six wins within 3 rounds, whips in difficult shots from his waist and could get the stoppage in the next half.
Stoke middleweight Nathan Heaney (14-) seems to be established for yet another enjoyable fight. He satisfies Argentine southpaw Diego Ramirez (24-6-1) about 10. Ramirez is recognised to British enthusiasts for upsetting Bradley Skeete in two rounds in Brentwood in December, 2018. Boxing all around 154lbs, Ramirez is 3-3-1 in his previous seven, has been the full 10 rounds in his last five, though Heaney has stopped his previous three.
Heaney will get his wins by breaking his opponents down and dropping them with entire body photographs, but Ramirez has only been stopped as soon as and Heaney may well have to go the distance to get the acquire.
The Verdict Only ought to acquire for Cunningham at this stage.
Get YOUR Pick
THE stay broadcast of Cunningham-Le Couviour begins at 7pm on Saturday evening on BT Sport 1, which means it clashes with the Benn-Van Heerden celebration on DAZN and the Boxxer collection on Sky Sports Motion. Which is significantly from best.