Jason Cunningham stuns Gamal Yafai, Lerrone Richards, Tommy McCarthy win
Jason Cunningham upset Gamal Yafai by knocking him down three times to claim his European Super-Bantamweight Title via unanimous decision surprisingly.
Yafai was down in the second, fourth, and sixth rounds and spent the rest of the fight desperately trying to salvage his belt, but to no avail.
“We’re buzzing,” said Cunningham. “We’re from a little town called Doncaster. We’ve got a British, European, and World Champion – that’s some doing that. At three weeks’ notice – I won my second Commonwealth Title at three weeks’ notice. They tried catching me out tonight. I don’t care what anyone says – that’s what they’ve done.
“I’ve stayed prepared, stayed disciplined, and dedicated. This is what happens when you stick to it. I was in this venue last time I had a big fight against Michael Conlan. But I pushed Michael Conlan hard.
“I had to grit in late on tonight – he hurt me a few times to the body. I’ll never quit. It’s my boxing ability that sets me above the rest. I’m an awkward tall southpaw.
“I said I knew I had the tools to do it.I said I’d have done a better job if I had more notice, but I dropped him three times to be fair. And it was quite comfortable, really.
“I knew to keep calm and carry on what I was doing. I stuck to it, and this is my reward. But I made a lot of people in Doncaster a lot of money tonight.
“I showed my class I was levels above him in terms of boxing ability. Usually, you get a good ten weeks’ notice for a European Title fight – it was the biggest fight of my life. I had been out of the ring since February last year. Tonight was just my night. I knew I was all wrong for him.”
The skillful Lerrone Richards comprehensively out-boxed Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis to claim the vacant European Super-Middleweight Title.
Richards, who had previously won British and Commonwealth honors, ran rings around De Carolis to secure a unanimous decision.
De Carolis, a former WBA World Champion, could not lay a glove on Richards, who is now unbeaten in 15.
“I said I was going to conquer Europe, and I’ve done it,” Richards told Matchroom. “I’m very pleased, and I’m very happy. I wanted this so bad to complete the collection—British, Commonwealth, and now the European Super-Middleweight Champion. I’m very happy.
“It’s all of the drilling and all of the work in the gym. I want to thank my team – Dave Coldwell, Danny Wilson, and my nutritionist Lee, for getting me in the best shape possible for this fight. I’m going to be very difficult to beat. I said this from the start. It’s all about the skills, and I have them in abundance. I showcased a little bit of that tonight.
“There were points in the fight where I decided to sit in the pocket and work with him. I could have gone up the gears a little bit more tonight. I felt like what I was doing was enough. My team is very happy with my performance.
“I started from the bottom and worked my way up – I backed myself. There’s something to learn at every level. We’ll see what the team says the best options are for me. The next step now is fringe world level.”
Tommy McCarthy successfully defended his European Cruiserweight Title for the first time by stopping Alexandru Jur in the sixth round, twice flooring him with body shots.
‘Mac Attack’ is now set to face Bournemouth’s Commonwealth Champion Chris Billam-Smith at Matchroom’s next Fight Camp installment this summer.
“I’m delighted,” McCarthy told Matchroom. “I got a few rounds in and a stoppage. I got everything that I wanted. We prepared for Jur to give me a good test. I don’t think he expected me to come out the way that I did. It threw him off a bit. I can’t complain.
“I thought it was all over after the first knockdown. Feinted to the head, left hook to the body, and he went over. He went into survival mode after that. It was the same again with the next one. I’ve been working hard with my team all through camp. We’ve been doing all sorts of drills. We’ve been working on being explosive. The S and C training was all focused on me being explosive. I’m a hard puncher.
“Everything was perfect this camp – no injuries. I was driving them shots through him. It was great. The pandemic has been great for me. I’ve kept my head down, stayed in the gym, and worked on my whole game. I hope everybody is buzzing back home in Belfast.
“I’ve got no problem in fighting Chris Billam-Smith. It’s easy work. If this is the hurdle that I have to jump over for a World Title fight, then so be it. Chris Billam-Smith, stop Tweeting about me, stop talking about me – we’ll see you at Fight Camp.”