'We are staying at super welter': Kieron Conway interview
Photo: Harriet Lander/Getty Images
After his exciting draw with Ted Cheeseman, Kieron Conway talks to Ezio Prapotnich about where he goes next...
“They called five weeks before the York Hall date and offered us the fight. We came back straight away to confirm and they said they found someone else. I fought a four rounder the following week and then they called again at three weeks' notice. At that point, I was a stone above the limit. Not sure if they counted on me to be weak on fight night but if they did... Well... they had another think coming.”
It’s not always about winning. Some fighters only found the respect that eluded them for most of their career when showing all their heart in a losing effort.
In Kieron Conway’s (12-1-1, 3 KOs) case it took a draw and his career has only just begun...
Trained by his father James, the slick counter-puncher from Northampton, who has spent all his career at middleweight, was not given much of a chance against British super welterweight champion Ted Cheeseman but surpassed all expectations battling to a split draw and is now a force to be reckoned with at 154lbs.
Where does he go from here? He doesn’t know yet but the landscape is open...
BM: How old were you when you started boxing and did your father introduce you to it?
KC: I was in Primary school, five or six years old, when I asked my father if I could join a mate of mine that was boxing and he said no. The reason? He did not think that I was tough enough. He sent me to do karate instead. I stuck to it for six years. When I got my black belt he finally let me wear gloves.
BC: What was your amateur record and when did you turn pro?
KC: I had 84 amateur fights, won 69 and picked up six Midlands Area titles and two Haringey Cups along the way. When I was 20-years-old, I entered the Senior ABAs but lost in the first round to the guy who won it and that was it. I turned pro straight after.
BM: Did your karate experience prove in anyway useful when you started boxing?
KC: I have been punching bags since I was six years old. The technique is completely different but it builds explosiveness and is also the reason I am heavier handed than I actually look. Most importantly, it made me develop mental discipline.
BM: Your first step up in terms of exposure and opposition happened with Ultimate Boxxer III. How did you feel about losing a split decision to tournament winner Derrick Ousaze in the semi-final?
KC: The format did not really suit me as my style is more effective over the distance, where I break the opponent’s heart. I think I won the first two rounds but it was close enough to go either way. It depends what you are looking for and the judges went for the busier and more active fighter. I have no complaints about that.
BM: Does the same logic apply to the draw against Cheeseman?
KC: The first thought that went through my head after the final bell was 'If we were anywhere else outside of his hometown, I would have won this fight'. When they read the first scorecard [116-113 Conway] I was genuinely surprised. I watched it five times by now and I honestly think I won by two rounds. But, given he was the champion and we were in his city, I just accept it as it is.
BM: Regardless of the result, do you feel that your level of performance on that stage will be beneficial for your career?
KC: They put this “pretty boy” label on me and expected me to fold under pressure but since after the fight my phone has absolutely blown up. I received a lot of praise by respected figures in boxing. We did not get the result but my stock has definitely gone up.
BM: How did the move down to super welter work for you?
KC: Although I fought my entire career at middle and above, that’s the division where I always envisioned winning titles. I have always been able to make the limit comfortably and I’m massive at the weight.
BM: Will you remain at 154, then? What are your short term objectives?
KC: Yes, we are staying at super welter. We would have loved a rematch but it’s not there unfortunately. I will sit down with my team at MTK this week and we will take it from there.
BM: What is your pick for Cheeseman vs Fitzgerald?
KC: I like Ted but I think Fitzgerald will stop him. I did what I did at three weeks' notice and Scott is going to have a full camp. He is one of the tougher guys in the division. He can really dig and Ted leaves his head exposed too often and for too long.
BM: Thanks to Chantelle Cameron winning the IBO title, Drew Brown lifting the Golden Robe in Ultimate Boxxer I and your performance last Saturday, Northampton has been truly put on the map boxing wise. How do you see the local scene progressing from here and who would you tip to come up next?
KC: Boxing in Northampton really has a great standard but for some reason no one knew about it. I think in a couple of years more talent will come from the Amateurs. Keep an eye on Ethan James, who just signed with Frank Warren.
BM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
KC: I would like to mention my sponsors without whom I could not be a full time athlete. Thank you S&D Paving, Pound for Pound Boxing, Jimmy’s Sports Bar, Ace of Fadez Barbers, Tasty Meal Prep, Latimer Fire Protection and Northampton Stone Masons. And MTK Global, of course.
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