Former RING cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham has signed with Main Events and could make his heavyweight debut on a Sept. 8 at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“I am very excited about this new chapter and signing with Main Events,” said Cunningham, a Philadelphia native who turned 36 on July 15. “I’m looking forward to working closely with them as we plan my entry into the heavyweight division. It is going to be a welcome change to be fighting close to home again.”
Main Events President Kathy Duva said Cunningham (24-4, 12 knockouts) will “most likely” will face an opponent to be determined on the undercard of a main event featuring former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder Tomasz Adamek (46-2, 28 KOs) against journeyman Travis Walker (39-7-1, 31 KOs).
“Moving to heavyweight has always been a move I knew I would make at some point. After my last fight, we sat down and looked at our options,” said Cunningham.
“It was either continue at cruiserweight and go for another world title, but I felt like ‘what’s the point?’ I have been there and done that twice; or I could finally make the move to heavyweight. This felt like the right thing to do.”
Cunningham is coming off a unanimous decision loss to IBF cruiserweight beltholder Yoan Pablo Hernandez (26-1, 13 KOs), of Cuba, in a February rematch.
Hernandez-Cunningham II was an IBF-ordered return bout from October which ended with Hernandez dethroning Cunningham by controversial sixth-round technical decision in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
Hernandez-Cunningham went to the scorecards as a result of a cut over the right eye of Hernandez that had resulted from two, accidental, early-round head clashes with Cunningham.
The loss ended Cunningham’s winning streak at three, having last tasted defeat when he lost the IBF title to Adamek via split-decision in December of 2008.
Before losing to Adamek, Cunningham had won two straight: a majority decision over Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland in May of 2007, and a 12th-round knockout of Marco Huck, who are the current WBC and WBO titleholders, respectively.
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.
“Steve Cunningham’s decision to move up to boxing’s top division will make the U.S. heavyweight scene that much more lively and interesting,” said Duva.
“At 6-foot-3, Steve certainly has the frame to carry more weight and gain strength. We look forward to watching Steve test his skills against the best the division has to offer and expect fireworks.”
Photo by Javiel Centeno, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org