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Jason Cunningham dominates European title defence

Jason Cunningham
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Jason Cunningham hammers overmatched Le Couviour, writes Matt Bozeat from ringside

EUROPEAN super-bantamweight champion Jason Cunningham outclassed mandatory challenger Terry Le Couviour at the International Centre in Telford on Saturday. The fight was waved off by referee Fabian Guggenheim 53 seconds into the sixth after Cunningham had dropped the Frenchman for a third time with body shots.

Cunningham said he saw Le Couviour eating ice cream hours before the scheduled 12-rounder and thought he may be vulnerable to the body. That was how it turned out.

Every time the Doncaster southpaw found Le Couviour’s body, he was hurt. He was down in the second and third rounds and after dragging himself up off the canvas for a third time in the sixth, Le Couviour walked to his corner.  

Unbeaten in 16, Le Couviour was made to look like a novice by the 32-year-old champion.

He dropped dramatically from a left hook to the ribs in the second for a count of ‘nine’ and took a knee for ‘seven’ after taking a similar punch in the next.

Manager Stefy Bull warned Cunningham after the fourth: “Just because it’s easy, don’t go down to his level” after he was outworked and the fifth was similar – until the champion found the gap for a body punch.     

Le Couviour took a deep breath and slowly walked backwards to the ropes. Cunningham let his hands go and when it seemed the stoppage was close, Le Couviour found a punch to keep him in the fight. But the end wasn’t far away.

Judges were Daniel van de Wiele, Fabian Sindemark and Mika Lindgren.

Stoke middleweight Nathan Heaney gave his many supporters another night to remember, getting off the floor in the opening round to outwork dangerous Argentine southpaw Diego Ramirez over 10. Ramirez had pulled off an upset on a previous visit to Britain, stopping Bradley Skeete in two rounds in Brentwood in December, 2018.

He dropped Skeete with a looping left and when Heaney walked onto his back hand in the dying seconds of the first he ended up on the seat of his trunks, if only for a second or so.

Ramirez spent the next nine rounds looking for the same punch. He sat on the back foot loading up on his left, while Heaney walked him down behind a stiff jab. 

There was another moment of alarm for Heaney’s supporters in the fourth when he fell onto a left and he took a few more clean shots on the chin before his head cleared.

For the remainder of the fight, Heaney was more disciplined, took fewer risks. He kept his punches long and straight and stepped back after he threw them, denying Ramirez the chance to land his heavy counters.

Scores were 98-91 (Agapito Gomez Alvarez), 97-92 (Francesco Ramacciotti) and 97-93 (Terry O’Connor).

Michael Alexander refereed.

Liverpool super-bantamweight Andrew Cain missed out on fighting Liam Davies and instead took out Argentine Pablo Ariel Gomez in just 19 seconds of a scheduled 10 rounder.

Gomez had won 11 of his previous 12, hadn’t been stopped since March, 2014, but he couldn’t take Cain’s power.

The first punch he landed – a fast, heavy right-hand counter – had Gomez on his knees. Up too quickly, Gomez was stiff legged and referee John Lathan waved it off.  

Cain has seven wins inside three rounds. 

Judges were Daniel van de Wiele, Fabian Guggenheim and Michael Alexander.

Northampton’s lofty switcher Eithan James dropped only one round in his first seven fights – but found it harder against Ben Fields.

Fields had no intention of boxing a 2016 European Junior silver medallist 11 years his junior and Mr Alexander warned the Stourbridge journeyman several times for roughhouse tactics.

Though he shipped a couple of swings and had his nose bloodied, James impressed. He kept his cool and showed a good shot selection when Fields rushed him, notably in the dying seconds of the seventh when a quality combination of short punches had Fields on rubbery legs briefly.

Mr Alexander scored 78-75.

Liverpool super-bantamweight Bradley Strand showed his class in a six-round points win over Tanzanian southpaw Ally Mwerangi.

Mr Latham scored 60-53 after docking Mwerangi a point in the last for his head.

Mwerangi was willing, but slow footed and Strand saw his attacks coming and countered them.

Strand had him looking to hold in the fourth and there was an eye-catching two-fisted salvo in the next that had Mwerangi dazed and wondering where the punches were coming from.

Fan-friendly box-fighter Owen Cooper (Worcester) came though his first test, outpointing Rochdale’s Richard Helm 59-56 for Mr Latham over six threes.

Both ended the fight with cuts after a clash of heads in the last.

Cooper was always the busier and appeared to hurt Helm in the fourth with body shots, but he stayed in the fight and kept looking to land his right until the final bell.

Sheffield’s Serge Ambomo rallied in the second half of his six rounder against York prospect George Davey to grab a 57-57 draw on Mr Alexander’s card, while Atherstone welterweight George Bance had an early night. Devon’s Des Newton suffered a shoulder injury and was ruled out 1-48 into the second of a scheduled six. Mr Latham refereed and he stepped in to rescue Shrewsbury’s Luke Merrifield in the third of his scheduled four rounder against Telford southpaw Bradley Thompson. Time was 1-16.

Macauley Owen was another Telford left hander in action, punishing Melksham’s Liam Richards with an impressive array of punches throughout to win all four rounds for Mr Alexander.

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