Jason Cunningham targets title success after Michael Conlan clash

Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena.
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena.

Jason Cunningham is convinced he will taste championship glory again in 2019 after his game effort in defeat to former world amateur champion Michael Conlan last weekend.

The Woodlands fighter produced an excellent, battling performance at the Manchester Arena to avoid being overawed by the highly-touted Conlan, who remained in control throughout.

It capped off a difficult year on a high note for Cunningham, who has endured issues in his personal life.

And it has set him up for a renewed effort in 2019.

“Can I just say I'm always disappointed in defeat but tonight I'm proud of myself," he wrote on social media.

“I've had the toughest time of my life these past few months but boxing and good people around me have got me through it all.

“Thank you to all my team as always and the special people in my life.

“I'm gonna enjoy Christmas with my little girl now and we go again in the new year BUT at super bantamweight.

“I'm concentrating on that weight division only now and will 100 per cent be a champion again.”

Cunningham has worn Commonwealth gold at two weights in the past but will target further glory at super bantamweight in the next year.

He stepped up to featherweight for the opportunity to fight Conlan, who has been tipped for world titles in the future.

Two judges scored the contest 97-92 and one the other awarded a 98-92 margin with Belfast fighter Conlan always on top.

But that scoring did not take away from a battling performance from Cunningham, who never looked like having his night ended early by an opponent backed for big things.

Conlan had a point deducted for repeated low blows and was put through a far from comfortable night by Cunningham.