Lem Satterfield

Cunningham eyes redemption on foreign soil against Hernandez

By defeating Wlodarczyk, Cunningham won the IBF belt for the first time and avenged a split-decision loss from November of 2006. Cunningham also already owns a split-decision victory over current WBA titlist Guillermo Jones from April of 2005.

“The fans around the world have seen me and they know what I’m capable of because those fights in the other countries are televised in South Africa, Australia, England, South Africa. We do interviews with those countries and everything, so nobody can ever look at me and say that I got hooked up or that I didn’t earn what I’ve achieved,” said Cunningham, who, like Hernandez and Huck, is promoted by Europe-based Sauerland Events.

“It’s just that the fans in America, they miss out on me. So my thing is the American fans haven’t seen me, and that’s why I’m not a star in America. I’m not a fighter that has a big manager or a big team behind me or a big promoter that’s pushing me. I’m fighter who has to go wherever I have to do to get whatever I have to get.”

Previously known as the world’s No. 1 cruiserweight, Cunningham longs for the success of fighters such as Huck, a winner of 15 straight, 11 of them by knockout, since losing to Cunningham.

Huck has made eight defenses of the WBO belt with five knockouts during that run, and has risen into the heavyweight ranks where he will face that division’s WBA beltholder, Alexander Povetkin, on Feb. 25.

“That’s what I wanted to do before the Hernandez fight, but I’m a Christian, so I’m taught not to covet what is his. Huck’s career, after I beat him, you know, he has a promoter who pushed him and put money behind him. They put time into him. I’m an African American who is learning to speak German, but I don’t speak the language fluently, and I’m an American fighting in Europe. So, the promoter can only push for so much and chance so much. The last promoter I had was Don King, and he didn’t do that for me,” said Cunningham.

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“We tried going after a unification fight with Wlodarczyk, we tried Huck, and none of those came to fruition. We tried getting Antonio Tarver into the ring after he beat Danny Green, and that didn’t happen. I’ve been getting some good fights and I’m where I need to be right now,  but I can’t continue to fight mandatories and make peanuts, and there’s no more fights at the cruiserweight division for me. I’m not getting any younger.”

Trained by Naazim Richardson, the same man who works with THE RING/WBC light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, Cunningham knows that he is in a  must-win situation against the 27-year-old Hernandez.

“Hernandez got that one shot in that won him that round, but I felt like we were going to get him in a couple of more rounds. Other than that, I felt like I won the fight. It’s just that I need more intensity and that’s all. I just need to be a little more relentless in attacking him,” said Cunningham.

“I just need to always be aware of my surroundings and to always remember that I’m in somebody else’s back yard, no matter whether or not we’re promoted by the same guys. After this fight, if I can’t solidify a big fight with Tarver or any of the other champs, I don’t think that I will stay in the cruiserweight division. I think that I may have to drop my coin into the heavyweight division.”

 

Steven Cunningham’s title fights in Poland and Germany

(Vacant IBF title) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk W SD 12 Steve Cunningham, Nov. 25, 2006, Warsaw, Poland

(IBF defense) Steve Cunningham W MD 12 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, May 26, 2007, Spodek, Katowice, Poland

(IBF defense) Steve Cunningham W TKO 12 Marco Huck, Dec. 29, 2007, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

(Vacant IBF title) Steve Cunningham W TKO 5 Troy Ross, June 5, 2010, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

(IBF defense) Steve Cunningham W UD 12 Enad Licina, Dec. 12, 2011, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

(IBF defense) Yoan Hernandez W TD 6 Steve Cunningham, Oct. 1, 2011, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

 

 

Photo by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Javiel Centeno, Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages.com

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

 

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