Doncaster’s Jason Cunningham continued a memorable 2021 by narrowly defeating the previously unbeaten Brad Foster on the cards to add the Lichfield man’s British and Commonwealth crowns to his European 122lbs title at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night.
Scores were 116-112, 115-114 and 114-113 as Cunningham prevailed with a stirring finish after 12 intense rounds of action, building on his shock points win over EBU belt holder Gamal Yafai back in May.
Foster (14-1-2, 5 KOs), who had a point deducted in the eighth, appeared to race to a clear lead in the first half of the fight before Cunningham narrowed the gap late in a close encounter.
“I’m over the moon! I’m battled hardened and experienced. I say never give up, and look at me now!” said new triple champion Cunningham (30-6, 6 KOs) afterwards.
“He was tricky, he probably won the early rounds but I can dog it out. I asked if the judges would give me a fair roll of the dice and they did. Never give up on your dreams, I used my failures to learn. Always keep going.”
Nottingham’s Ekow Essuman successfully defended his British welterweight crown with an impressive sixth-round KO of West Midlander Danny Ball.
Essuman (16-0, 7 KOs) overwhelmed and dropped the gutsy Ball (10-1-1, 4 KOs) with a barrage in a corner in the sixth before referee Victor Loughlin counted the challenger out.
“I’m very pleased. I hurt him in the first few rounds, hurt him a few more times, then it was just a case of taking him out,” said the in-form Essuman. “I’m gonna keep pushing to the top, and take over the world!”
Telford’s rising star Liam Davies earned the vacant WBC International Silver 122lbs title with a disciplined points victory over Nicaraguan Dixon Flores (17-8-3, 7 KOs & 2 NC). Scores were 100-90 (twice) and 99-91.
“It was tough. He wobbled my tooth in the second round,” said Davies (11-0, 5 KOs). “It was a good learning fight. I need to be disciplined and pace myself. It pushes me on to better things.”
Former IBF 175lbs title challenger Callum Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) was below his best and laboured in overcoming Russian import Server Emurlaev (24-3, 8 KOs) by a majority decision. Scores were a too wide 99-92 (courtesy of Ian John Lewis), 96-94 and 95-95.
Main image: Jason Cunningham relishes victory. Photo: Queensberry Promotions.