KING IN CLOSE LOSS TO CUNNINGHAM

Cardiff’s Kyle King (3-3) was edged out by a slightly sharper Jason Cunningham (9-0, 1KO) whose extra energy was enough to take the four round fight in Rotherham last night. It was King’s (8st 8lbs 4oz) first appearance in a ring for 18 months and the ring rust was evident early on as he was guilty of waiting too long and being beaten to the punch. Cunningham (8st 8lbs) initiated exchanges, picking up points with straight shots and then falling in to use his size to shut down King’s response. It was a frustrating pattern for the Welshman. Cunningham had no interest in boxing at close quarters, effectively holding and tying the Cardiff man up when King closed to distance to get on the inside – which went without a warning from referee Michael Alexander. The eye catching shots in the first three rounds came from King but there wasn’t enough of them for him to secure the scores, especially as he was away from home. Cunningham kept the punches flowing and although they mainly hit King’s gloves or guard, they occupied King and stopped him from throwing his own. Realising that he could only score half-hits when he was being held, King tried to adapt tactics to counterpunch and he did with real success in the closing stanza. Cunningham was coming forward behind his longer shots but when they fell short, the Yorkshireman was slow to bring them back to his chin and King took advantage with numerous hard left hooks landing flush. The referee scored the bout 39-37 in favour of Cunningham and although disappointed with the loss, King has a lot to take heart from – especially as it was his first fight with his new trainer and manager Jamie Arthur. Inactivity has been the biggest enemy of King’s career but he’s certain that it’s over now and he’ll be back in the gym after a seven day break. An offer of sparring was made by Cunningham to King but King countered and suggested a rematch which should suit all parties.

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