Craig Cunningham enjoys Billy Joe Saunders sparring prior to Singapore outing

Craig Birch 11/08/2017

Craig Cunningham has been sparring with world champions again after landing a fight in Singapore to defend his WBC International middleweight title.

Cunningham will head overseas for an Asian experience after failing to land a big fight on home soil, writes Your Sport Black Country editor Craig Birch.

The 29-year-old Brummie, who lives in Oldbury, has never boxed outside of the UK but will now undertake a near 7,000 mile trip.

The skilful southpaw is set to take on Azizbek Abdugofurov, from Uzbekistan, at a venue and date yet to be specified.

Abdugofurov is scheduled to meet Tanzania’s Ibrahim Tamba for an eight-rounder in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 12 which could act as a warm-up.

‘Triple A’ – full name Azizbek Abdumuxtar Ogli Abdugofurov and aged 25 – has racked up six wins with four TKOs and has already won the WBC Asian Council middleweight crown.

Four of his bouts have come in Singapore, one a title defence in Far East Square. The OCBC Arena, within the Singapore Sports Hub, is being considered for his next contest.

Cunningham has had two keep-busy outings this year, points wins over Anthony Fox and William Warburton, over a frustrating 2017.

He was due to be the voluntary defence in April for British champion Tommy Langford, who instead opted for a losing effort at WBA interim world honours.

Cunningham last major victory 10 months ago saw him claim the WBC bauble against Anthony Ogogo, who suffered a broken eye socket before his eighth round retirement.

But further world class sparring has come in the form of WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders, who defends against William Monroe Jr in London on September 16.

Cunningham also shared a sharing ring with Kell Brook when he was IBF boss, before Errol Spence Jr seized the belt. Both Monroe and Spence are left-handers.

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