Feb 8, 2 years ago

Yoan Pablo Hernandez got the win but unsung hero Steve USS Cunningham got the accolade

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Last weekend, at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt, a new champion was crowned by The Ring magazine who awarded their prestigious belt to 200lb kingpin Yoan Pablo Hernandez. While two words alone can market Hernandez – “Cuban southpaw” – his opponent was a man who could call upon a library of distinguishing and accurate statements, yet Steve Cunningham remains a largely unheralded prizefighter on his side of the Atlantic.

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Cunningham down, but never out. Credit: Photo Wende

A fighter from the proud town of Philadelphia… a four-time world title challenger and two-time world champion… a former amateur standout despite taking up boxing late… the only man to beat (and kayo) Marco Huck, as well as edging Guillermo Jones, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Wayne Braithwaite and Enad Licina… he was a navy man, a serviceman on board USS America and USS Enterprise where he refuelled aircraft and, in his first amateur fight he upset the odds by trouncing the light heavyweight king of the whole US Navy.

At 35-years-old and with two successive defeats on his resume, Cunningham’s foray at world championship level may be over, much to the fighter’s chagrin who is keen to challenge for the highest honours for a fifth time.

That, though, embodies the spirit of Cunningham (24-4-0, 12ko).

Boxing in a weight class that is one of the focal divisions in Germany and virtually dismissed in the States, he has found himself campaigning on foreign canvas for his past four fights and has not even boxed in his home state – PA – since 2003. Considering his background, his accomplishments, the man is deserving of fanfare but is cruelly overlooked in the USA in favour of boxers like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Lamont Peterson, Devon Alexander and, with a match-up with Manny Pacquiao looming on the horizon; Timothy Bradley.

While he may not attract the press of any of the aforementioned pugs, Cunningham does have one thing… the unswerving respect of the industry.

In victory, Hernandez (26-1-0, 13ko) was swift to talk-up the opponent he dropped twice in the fourth round but could not finish off. He said: “I take my hat off to Steve, he is a great, great fighter and once again proved his world class.”

Like he was in October, last year, Cunningham was discounted by way of decision, only this time round he boxed the full 12 rounds, unlike the first square-off when the contest was stopped on account of cuts. Two words seemed to epitomise his performance: “warrior” and “courage”: “There were two warriors in the ring and this warrior still wants the belt back,” said Cunningham, when reflecting on the fight.

What was evident, in both fights, was that despite Hernandez’s pedigree, it was Cunningham who was the superior boxer. What prevented the man dubbed ‘USS’ from emerging triumphant was his inability to cope with Yoan Pablo’s power. Had it not been for the knockdowns he suffered in both fights, then the IBF and The Ring magazine titles would be wrapped around his waist and not Hernandez’s.

While the premature technical decision ruling ensured an anti-climactic finish in the first, the second contest was anything but as the Frankfurt audience were treated to boxing as well as fighting. Technical finesses as well as a donnybrook. This was not lost on Wilfried Sauerland, who helped stage and promote the fight. He said: “This was fantastic… one of the best fights on German soil in a long time. Cunningham proved his class, as did Hernandez. This was a real treat for boxing fans.”

Hernandez’s trainer, Ulli Wegner passed his congratulations onto Cunningham for his participation: “He was very impressive. How he recovered from those two knockdowns was amazing. Everybody knows he is a world-class fighter, one of the best out there. I am proud that Pablo defeated him tonight.”

The best was reserved to last by his unmistakable, highly-likable and world-renowned coach, Brother Nazim Richardson: “Steve´s courage was impressive. Had I got hit by those shots, I would still be down. Not many fighters can recover from something like that. But Steve got back up, twice, and fought on.

“His courage is incredible,” he said, in a final, fitting salute.

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Feb 4, 2 years ago

IBF champ Hernandez knocks Cunningham down twice, edges points contest in entertaining 12 rounder

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Yoan Pablo Hernandez retained possession of the IBF cruiserweight world title at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday, February 4 due to a unanimous decision over American veteran Steve Cunningham, who made his fourth world title challenge. Two knockdowns in the fourth round, where Hernandez showed his true power, swung the tie in the Cuban’s favour but, considering the gripping nature of the two fights, a trilogy has to be booked…

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Kirsch’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Cunningham
10 9 9 7 10 10 10 9 10 10
10 9
Hernandez
9 10 10
10 9 9 9 10 9 9 9 10

Official verdict: Hernandez wins unanimous decision (116-110, 116-110, 115-111).

Hernandez’s power that has already felled Cunningham versus the superior boxing nous of the American against the inferior in-ring intellect of the Cuban… the rematch between two of the top cruiserweights in world boxing contained little global fanfare but deserved to be heralded amongst the most highly-anticipated match-ups of the calendar year thus far. As early as round one, Cunningham was far more controlled than he was in the opening tear-up as he fought from mid-to-long range and quadruple-jabbed… to the head then to the body twice over. Hernandez had control of the centre of the ring and bombarded the body, finishing the round well and inspired a great reaction from the Frankfurt crowd but the majority of blows were not clean.

Like the vast majority of Cuban fighters, Hernandez is a southpaw and, while the portside posturing was not problematic for Cunningham, he was struck with clean left hands. Athletic and extremely muscly, Cunningham displayed great footwork, used the ring well but the round went to Yoan Pablo for his ability to dictate the flow. In round three, Hernandez put his punches into bunches and landed extremely well to the body of the 35-year-old American. When Cunningham attempted to throw a power shot, he was countered with a short-range right hand launched from low.

When southpaws and orthodox fighters collide, there can often be foot-work issues as their lead feet tread on each other and, in this fight – the co-support to the main event of Enad Licina and Alexander Alekseev – it was no different, with Cunningham the main instigator.

In round four, Hernandez had Cunningham on the deck twice… the first knockdown was caused because of a full-blooded left cross. Cunningham attempted to make it to his feet immediately but collapsed awkwardly, however, he did – eventually – beat the count but walked into a shot straight away and was in a heap again. The second canvassing, though, was more of a flash knockdown as Cunningham was up swiftly. The Philadelphian prizefighter, a four-time world title challenger at 200lbs, could have been down a third time had it not been for excessive spoiling but in doing so, showed his experience despite his obviously dazed head, weakened legs and battered will.

In the fifth round, a slobberknocker threatened to break out. Cunningham attempted to break Hernandez with body shots before slamming a huge shot into the Cuban’s beak which wobbled the champion making the first defence of the IBF title. Cunningham’s eye and mouth were marked, perhaps because of the fourth round bombardment but could have been due to Hernandez’s head-hunting in the fifth. Yoan Pablo, 27, was more cautious since being so obviously tagged by the elder Cunningham, who showed great recovery and heart to win the fifth round after being dropped twice in the preceding stanza.

Cunningham, with new-found confidence, boxed in the sixth round… he goaded Hernandez on with a loose hand, shot to the body, caught Hernandez’s punches with his gloves, allowed the Cuban the centre of the ring whilst he moved gradually around the outside whilst throwing solitary blows. The best, most effective punch, being the straight right.

In the seventh round, Hernandez was the first to score with a meaningful move as he landed a three-punch body-bound combination. Cunningham, throughout the three minutes, returned to the midsection, like he had been in the previous rounds, in order to best deplete his opponent of his energy reserves. In the final 30 seconds of the round, Cunningham slammed a big overhand right onto Hernandez’s cheekbone which inspired a wild, staggered and badly-thought out attack on the part of the champion who was clearly rattled by the big punch.

Cunningham was caught in round eight by a short-range left uppercut. It was enough to make him take a step back, but not enough to make him return immediately to combat as he retaliated with a body punch. Midway through the round, Hernandez threw a left hand over the top which was partially blocked by a well-placed Cunningham glove. One potential difference-maker in the championship fight was athletic-shape… Cunningham boxed like he was comfortable with the tempo and the distance, whilst Hernandez was breathing heavily with his mouth wide open – something that could be dangerous as it’s where jaws are more prone to breakage.

Cunningham dictated the early tempo of round nine with his jab and, over a quietened crowd, his trainer Brother Nazim Richardson could be heard in his unmistakeable tone, shouting that Hernandez was done and that Cunningham was in the ascendancy. A renowned trainer due to his work in extending the career of Bernard Hopkins, Richardson’s cornerman advice is at the elite-level. Noticing his fighter was cut, he allowed the cutman to take centre stage between rounds in the first third of the fight whilst he stayed behind the ropes to give Cunningham instruction… this allowed the cutman to work more effectively, rather than partially between the ropes.

Before round ten, Richardson warned Cunningham that Hernandez would be throwing hail Mary punches. Indeed, his work-rate paled in comparison to Cunningham, who was patient in between throwing three-punch flurries. In a round high on quality, Cunningham edged Hernandez due to his ability to dictate the flow whilst putting his punches into bunches.

Cunningham, like he had done for the majority of the fight, out-boxed Hernandez, making his man miss whilst connecting with his three-punch moves.

The greater action was reserved for the final round as both fighters entered the 12th as if the contest and the IBF championship depended on it. Cunningham forced the pace, pushed Hernandez onto a tentative backfoot, but, with just over a minute remaining, Cunningham was rocked with a huge left hand. The punch rocked the American but did not take him off his feet. Hernandez fought like he was spent in the final minute as Cunningham came back with a vengeance.

The sound of the final bell was a most unwelcome one but both men shot their arms in the air as if they had taken the decision but only one man walked away with the belt; Hernandez. On The Beak had it closer than the three judges; a Mexican, an Italian and a Canadian, but considering the anti-climactic nature of the first contest, the enthralling distance fight tonight and the competitive stylistic match-up, a trilogy could be called for!

With victory, Hernandez is now 2-0-0, 0ko over Cunningham and 26-1-0, 13ko overall. Cunningham, in defeat, dropped to 24-4-0, 12ko.

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Feb 1, 2 years ago

Video: Cunningham warns Hernandez he wants his belt back, Yoan Pablo tells Steve ‘Americans talk a lot’

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Many column inches have been dedicated to what has been described as the first high-profile boxing event of the year as a championship double-header consisting of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Marco Antonio Rubio as well as Nonito Donaire and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr goes down in Texas on Saturday, February 4. However, the San Antonio card has a predecessor as Germany plays host to the highly-anticipated IBF cruiserweight world title rematch between Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham earlier that evening.

Tough Germany-based Serbian Enad Licina takes on Alexander Alekseev for the EBU belt at 200lbs, while Eduard Gutknecht and Vyacheslav Uzelkov complete the Fraport Arena, Frankfurt card in an EBU light heavyweight title clash.

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Cunningham and trainer Richardson. Credit: Team Sauerland

During a confrontational head-to-head, Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko) stared down Hernandez – a fighter whom he lost possession of the IBF title to in their last fight – and said: “That is my belt, it is coming back to me.

“You better hug it tonight. I am the real champion. Nobody is going to help you this time. I live, eat, sleep boxing. Nobody ever helped me. No referee helped me up off the ground when I got knocked down. I am worried for you! I am the real champ.”

During the October, 2011 tussle at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Hernandez canvassed Cunningham in round one, however, the latter rallied well, took control of the fight but, in the sixth round, the contest was stopped on account of cuts and therefore went to the scorecards of the judges – who had Cuban southpaw Hernandez ahead at the time.

“It was the wrong decision to stop the fight,” said Cunningham. “All I ask for on Saturday is an equal playing field. Hernandez is a good fighter but I am better. I will prove that I am the best cruiserweight.”

Speaking out on Cunningham’s calls for reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his, Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) commented that it is “no problem” for him. He added: “He is American and Americans talk a lot. We’re used to it. I look forward to the rematch. Cunningham is a top cruiserweight, a very strong opponent, but I deserved to win the first fight and I will beat him again. If there is any doubt left that I am better, I will erase all doubts on Saturday night.”

Hernandez makes his first defence. Credit: Team Sauerland

Promoter Wilfried Sauerland said: “The first duel was very dramatic. I disagree with some of the things that happened. I thought that the count in the first round – when Cunningham went down – was too long. And I also disagree with the decision to stop the fight due to the cuts, I think they could have fought on. Now we look forward to a compelling rematch.

“Cunningham and Hernandez are the two best cruiserweights out there. We feel honoured that, on top of the IBF belt, The Ring belt will be at stake. It is going to be very, very interesting.”

On the undercard, emerging cruiserweight Licina (21-3-0, 11ko) promised a fan-friendly contest: “I grew up in Frankfurt and I want to give my fans an entertaining fight. Alekseev is an accomplished fighter but I am tough and I will beat him.”

Opponent Alekseev (22-2-0, 20ko) noted that, to realise his ambitions, he must “win” on fight night. “I want to be the new European champion.”

European light heavyweight ruler Gutknecht (22-1-0, 9ko) honours his mandatory challenger by taking on Uzelkov (25-1-0, 16ko): “He is a very strong opponent but I will remain the champion,” Gutknecht said.

(Embedded video below credit – YouTube, SekondzOut)

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Jan 30, 2 years ago

Yoan Pablo Hernandez Q&A: I’m a better fighter than Steve Cunningham

On The Beak – Admin

IBF cruiserweight world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) will face two-time world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko) in a hotly-anticipated rematch in Frankfurt on Saturday, February 4. www.boxing-online.com caught up with the 27-year-old Cuban.

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Cunningham and Hernandez to settle their dispute in Germany

Q: Yoan Pablo, you will be facing Steve Cunningham for the second time on Saturday. Are you upset about giving him a rematch?

YPH: “No, not at all, much on the contrary. I am happy to fight him again. I will show everybody that I am the better fighter. If there are any doubts, I will erase them.”

Q: The first fight came to a controversial ending. Cunningham believes you could have fought on despite the cuts. What’s your take on that?

YPH: “Well, it wasn’t me who stopped the fight, but the referee after consulting the ring doctor. One of the cuts was very deep, the risk of getting a serious injury would have been too big in my opinion. And the blood was affecting my vision. Who knows what could have happened.”

Q: Are you upset about the fact that everybody discussed the ending of the fight? After all, you knocked him down in the first round…

YPH: “Of course I was upset. I performed well on that night and I deserved to win. Everybody should respect that. Cunningham should have respected that, too.”

Q: How will the second fight go?

YPH: “I hope it will not be as bloody as the first fight. I hope for a fair fight – I will be fighting fair. It’s my goal to win the rematch and put an end to the discussions about the first fight.”

Q: Has your life changed after winning the world title?

YPH: “Not really. I am the same person I was before. But when walking around in Berlin, I get recognised by more fans.”

Q: If you win on February 4, what will be next for you?

YPH: “I will take some time off. Every athlete needs breaks. I have trained very hard in the past months and I just want to spend some time with my family. Then I will quickly return to training for my next fight. But I am not thinking that far ahead. All that matters now is the rematch against Cunningham on Saturday.”

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Jan 30, 2 years ago

Yoan Pablo Hernandez Q&A: I’m a better fighter than Steve Cunningham

On The Beak – Admin

IBF cruiserweight world champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) will face two-time world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko) in a hotly-anticipated rematch in Frankfurt on Saturday, February 4. www.boxing-online.com caught up with the 27-year-old Cuban.

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Cunningham and Hernandez to settle their dispute in Germany

Q: Yoan Pablo, you will be facing Steve Cunningham for the second time on Saturday. Are you upset about giving him a rematch?

YPH: “No, not at all, much on the contrary. I am happy to fight him again. I will show everybody that I am the better fighter. If there are any doubts, I will erase them.”

Q: The first fight came to a controversial ending. Cunningham believes you could have fought on despite the cuts. What’s your take on that?

YPH: “Well, it wasn’t me who stopped the fight, but the referee after consulting the ring doctor. One of the cuts was very deep, the risk of getting a serious injury would have been too big in my opinion. And the blood was affecting my vision. Who knows what could have happened.”

Q: Are you upset about the fact that everybody discussed the ending of the fight? After all, you knocked him down in the first round…

YPH: “Of course I was upset. I performed well on that night and I deserved to win. Everybody should respect that. Cunningham should have respected that, too.”

Q: How will the second fight go?

YPH: “I hope it will not be as bloody as the first fight. I hope for a fair fight – I will be fighting fair. It’s my goal to win the rematch and put an end to the discussions about the first fight.”

Q: Has your life changed after winning the world title?

YPH: “Not really. I am the same person I was before. But when walking around in Berlin, I get recognised by more fans.”

Q: If you win on February 4, what will be next for you?

YPH: “I will take some time off. Every athlete needs breaks. I have trained very hard in the past months and I just want to spend some time with my family. Then I will quickly return to training for my next fight. But I am not thinking that far ahead. All that matters now is the rematch against Cunningham on Saturday.”

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Jan 9, 2 years ago

Steve Cunningham will not get his belts back! – Yoan Pablo Hernandez

On The Beak – Admin

Newly-crowned IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1-0, 13ko) is eager to get back into the ring with two-time world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3-0, 12ko). The duo will collide for the second time in four months during Team Sauerland´s big show at the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt on February 4, with Enad Licina (21-3-0, 11ko) and Alexander Alekseev (22-2-0, 20ko) clashing for the vacant European cruiserweight title and European light heavyweight champion Eduard Gutknecht (22-1-0, 9ko) defending his title against mandatory challenger Viacheslav Uzelkov (25-1-0, 16ko).

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Cunningham and Hernandez weigh-in for controversy-laden first fight. Credit: Photo Wende

“It is going to be an exciting night of boxing,” Team Sauerland General Manager Chris Meyer said at today´s press conference in Frankfurt. “The three title fights promise a lot of excitement, especially the rematch between Hernandez and Cunningham. Their first fight was very dramatic. I think it´s a 50-50 fight, with Hernandez being the favourite because he is the world champion.”

Hernandez knocked Cunningham down in the first round of their meeting in October, but the American veteran recovered and fought back. After six rounds, the fight was stopped on cuts with Hernandez ahead on the scorecards. “It was a great feeling to become world champion,” Hernandez said. “However, the ending was a bit unfortunate. I am the better fighter and I am happy to prove it again to erase any doubts. I have a lot of respect for Cunningham, he is a great fighter, very skilled and very fast, but he will not get his title back.”

German coaching legend Ulli Wegner believes the 27-year-old Cuban will be the next big thing: “Yoan Pablo is very special,” Wegner stated. “Ever since he joined me in 2005, we have had a very close relationship. He has the potential to be a huge fan favourite in Germany. Whenever we have joint public appearances, I realise how popular he is with the fans and the media. He has great things ahead.”

In the co-featured main event, former world title challenger Enad Licina, who fell to Cunningham last February, will come face-to-face with former world amateur champion Alekseev: “He is a tough guy,” Licina said. “But the fact that I will be fighting in front of my home fans in Frankfurt will give me a big boost. I am sure I will beat him and become the new European cruiserweight champion.”

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Oct 1, 3 years ago

Judges steal Cunningham’s IBF belt, Hernandez new cruiserweight champ

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

A bizarre championship bout took place at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg on October 1 as Steve Cunningham was floored in the opening round of his IBF cruiserweight defence against Yoan Pablo Hernandez yet recovered well to close out the remaining rounds in his favour. Two bloody cuts opened up on the challenger’s face, one of them deemed angry enough to call the fight off which allowed the judges to award the Cuban with an undeserved technical decision.

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Kirsch’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Hernandez 10 9
9 10 9 9 - - - -
- -
Cunningham
8 10 10 9 10 10 - - - - - -

Judges verdict: 58-55, 59-55, 56-57 to Hernandez.

A gentleman outside the ring from the sometimes unforgiving streets of Philadelphia, Cunningham turns big and bad and badass when he enters the squared circle and there were elements of focus, determination and eagerness to fight when the man dubbed USS due to his background in the navy made his way to the ring. Never one to back out of a challenge, Cunningham took on Hernandez – a consensus top ten cruiserweight – away from his native America; the third time on the trot he boxed on German canvas.

The bout almost finished as quickly as it started as Cunningham was dropped, brutally, at the closing stages of the opening stanza. A countering left hook (that landed behind the ear) felled the 6’3 American… Cunningham attempted to get back to his feet after a count of three but again collapsed under his weakened legs, however, he made the (long) count and, with 20 seconds remaining on the round clock, did just enough to survive the opening danger. Brother Nazim Richardson, Cunningham’s experienced head cornerman, poured cold water over Cunningham’s face as soon as he returned to his stool and Richardson’s soothing tones seemed to aid Cunningham’s recovery.

The opening of the second round was tentative, with Cunningham boxing smartly, landing patient two-punch combinations. Cunningham scored the ten due to his incredible recuperation while Hernandez paid the price for paying too much respect to Cunningham and not seizing the first round advantage. In the third round, Hernandez worked Cunningham with a bolo yet was perturbed by a gruesome cut that leaked endless blood high on his head… the laceration caused by an obvious clash of heads led in by Cunningham.

The power puncher in this bout was clearly Hernandez yet he did not seem to react well to his own blood, his corner even tried to mop up the wound with a hulking white towel before finally applying Vaseline. Early in the fourth, Cunningham was caught cold by a Hernandez left cross but by the round’s end Cunningham had opened up Hernandez’s cut.

Midway through the bout, Cunningham began to give Hernandez’s body more attention, working the sides of the Cuban southpaw’s midsection over with hooks – each one making Hernandez visibly wince. Cunningham sent the right hand over the top toward the end of the sixth while Richardson could be heard bellowing “go below baby,” as he attempted to goad his charge to return to the body.

There was to be no seventh round as, in what was a strange decision, referee Micky Vann called the fight off as he was unhappy with Hernandez continuing while his two cuts remained so angry. Neither cut, though, seemed to jeopardise the world title challenger’s vision but Vann motioned for the contest to close and to go to the judges’ scorecards.

As the scores were announced, Hernandez was the recipient of two wild verdicts while only one judge scored the fight for Cunningham. Yes, he was mowed down in the first and looked out for the count but the referee’s decision to allow him to continue appeared to be the correct one as he sufficiently regained his composure to go on and win four of the next five rounds, overturning the knockdown in round one. Vann, though, then called the fight off prematurely and the ringside judges effectively stole Cunningham’s belt off his waist to award it to an undeserving Hernandez.

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Sep 7, 3 years ago

Cunningham: I am a ship of war, Tarver rejected winner take all fight

Denzil Stone – Atlantic City

Consensus number one cruiserweight Steve Cunningham is due to take on dangerous Cuban southpaw Yoan Pablo Hernandez on Saturday, October 1 at the Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany as negotiations for each fighter’s first choice fell through. A “winner take all” all-American contest with Antonio Tarver was rejected, so Cunningham will again take his “ship of war” to foreign canvas.

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Picture: Cunningham claims he deserves a pit in hell. Credit: Chamber of Fear, Source – Flickr

“I have been trying to get a fight all summer,” IBF champion Cunningham explained to Fight Hype, confirming his fight with Hernandez (ranked number 7 in the division by On The Beak) has been added to a Germany card co-featuring a middleweight contest between Sebastian Sylvester and Grzegorz Proksa as well as a light heavyweight bout with Karo Murat and Gabriel Campillo.

Cunningham (24-2-0, 12ko) declared that the reason of his alignment with Hernadez (24-1-0, 13ko) was due to the dissipation of his fight with Tarver, and the failure of a Hernandez/Guillermo Jones match-up to bear fruit. He said: “[Hernandez has] been trying to get Jones in the ring. It didn’t happen for either of us so now we’re meeting up.”

A road warrior, Cunningham – from Philadelphia – has not fought in his home town since 2003. The 35-year-old has taken his “ship of war” to South Africa, Poland (twice) and Germany (thrice); a nation he will again box in come October: “We are used to it and enjoy traveling,” said the fight veteran.

“At first, it was a ‘do what you have to do’ thing but now, after fighting overseas so much, we have gotten used to it and we are quite comfortable. I have only fought in my hometown once in my entire boxing career – amateur and professional, so I guess you can say I have been like a ship of war from the beginning.”

Cunningham, meanwhile, insists the inability to get Tarver in the ring was not down to a lack of desire on his part: “There isn’t enough money to lure Tarver into a fight that he knows he’ll lose – [he was offered a] winner take all.”

On whether he believes that, as a two-time champion of the IBF belt at the 200lb weight limit, whether he believes he deserves more commendation and press than he currently receives, Cunningham riposted: “What I deserve is a pit in hell but thanks to the blood of Jesus I have a place in heaven.

“A lot of fighters don’t feel they are getting what they deserve, but I thank God that I am a two-time world champion and still able to perform at the top level in this division and my career is not over yet.”

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Feb 13, 3 years ago

News Flash: Weekend results – Cunningham, Navaez, Abraham, Barrera, Hernandez win and more

J.G Barrington – New York

IBF Cruiserweight title:  Steve Cunningham – UD – Enad Licina [118-110, 117-111, 115-113]

Notes – Philadelphian boxer Cunningham retains his IBF strap in his first defence with a unanimous points win. Licina was Cunningham’s mandatory challenger.

WBO Super Flyweight title: Omar Navaez – UD – Victor Zaleta [120-107, 120-107, 119-108]

Notes – Navaez extends his unbeaten run to 33 wins with 19 knockout victories within that period with his decision triumph over Zaleta. It was his first defence of WBO’s version of the Super Flyweight belt.

WBC Minimumweight title: Kazuto Ioka – 5Rd TKO – Oleydong Sithsanerchai

Notes – Ioka becomes a world champion at 21-years-old and after just seven fights. Thailand champion Sithsanerchai was dropped in both the second and fifth round.

British Lightweight title: Anthony Crolla – 9Rd TKO – John Watson

Notes – Crolla picked up the vacant Lonsdale belt in a thrilling fight with Watson. Crolla was a late replacement when Gavin Rees, who was initially scheduled to box, had to withdraw due to injury.

Interim WBA Cruiserweight title: Yoan Pablo Hernandez – 7Rd TKO – Steve Herelius

Notes – Herelius was floored twice in the seventh round before the fight was eventually stopped by referee Steve Smoger.

Interim WBA Minimumweight title: Sammy Gutierrez – 6Rd TKO – Renan Trongco

Notes – Gutierrez overcame getting knocked down in the first round to secure an early finish after referee Anibal Andrade called a halt to proceedings when Trongco was deemed unable to defend himself while being pummeled against the ropes.

IBF Heavyweight title eliminator: Eddie Chambers – UD – Derek Rossy [98-92, 98-92, 97-93]

Notes – Pittsburgh-born Chambers records second victory over Rossy, interrupting a seven-fight win run from the New-Yorker.

Light Welterweight: Marco Antonio Barrera – 2Rd TKO – Jose Arias

Notes – Ring legend Barrera dropped Arias in both rounds.

Light Heavyweight: Arthur Abraham – 2Rd TKO – Stjepan Bozic

Notes – Abraham took the fight as a ‘tune-up’ for his upcoming Super Six Classic semi-final against Andre Ward but didn’t get to test himself much as Bozic was unable to continue after injuring his left mitt.

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