Middleweight Kieron Conway traveled from Northampton to Las Vegas to fulfill a lifelong dream against Austin Williams, Elliot Worsell writes.
BOXING last year on a Saul “Canelo” Alvarez main event undercard in Arlington, Texas was a huge shot in the arm for Northampton’s Kieron Conway, though he admits doing the same thing in Las Vegas, his assignment this weekend , brings with it a completely different type of appeal.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do because I’ve always been a huge Elvis fan,” Conway told Boxing News this morning (Sept. 14) in Las Vegas. “I don’t think many people know this, but I had a great upbringing with Elvis, with my parents often playing his music.
“I always wanted to do what Elvis did and perform here because of this. Winning this fight would mean the world to me. It’s a ticked box and it’s also a great launching pad for me.”
The same could be said for their previous fight at a Canelo event, of course. That night in Arlington, Conway fought the undefeated Souleymane Cissokho over 10 rounds and, despite dropping the Frenchman in the ninth, was ultimately eliminated on the cards via split decision. This time, with even more at stake and the added attraction of winning in Elvis land, Conway, a middleweight, is determined to leave nothing to chance.
“That fight (last year) I learned a lot, both inside and outside the ring,” he said. “Things were happening outside of the ring and in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have taken that fight. But I took it, and I wasn’t letting anything stop me. I learned a lot from him, and I won’t make the same mistakes twice. Now I’m here fresh and ready to go.”
Interestingly, although both Conway and his next opponent, Austin Williams, are 26 years old, their careers to date have been entirely different, with Conway, a pro since 2017, by far the more proven of the two, with a pair of losses to show this.
Williams, on the other hand, turned pro only in 2019 and so far, racking up a record of 11-0 (9), remained undefeated and largely untested.
“That’s going to be crucial,” Conway, 18-2-1 (4), said of his most experienced. “Without that experience, you don’t know what a professional fight looks like, on a professional stage, with professional gloves on. This is different from combat and different from buffs. It’s totally different, and when you haven’t experienced it, and it shows up for the first time, it’s hard to prepare for it.
“I feel like this is his time for that to happen. She’s finally getting her first taste of being in the trenches and being in a tough fight where things don’t go to plan.
“When I suffered that loss at Texas last year, I had to ask and answer a lot of questions. I think I have found the answers to those questions now and have covered all the things I need to cover.
“I’m definitely not here to lose. I am here to win. I don’t want to experience that feeling of losing anymore. I don’t want to have to go away and ask myself those same questions again. I am 26 years old and I am at a vital point in my career. I’m here to do a job now and put my career on top.”
No stranger to setbacks, and no stranger to recovering from them either, Conway is now at the stage where he has established himself as a solid and reliable contender, but he probably needs a win if he wants to become something more. This could undoubtedly come in the form of a win over Williams, and indeed, with so much at stake on Saturday night, Conway has treated the fight and the opportunity with all the care and attention it deserves and likely will require.
“I watch all my opponents,” he said, “and I’m a great student of boxing. I don’t go home and relax and play PlayStation. I go home and watch boxing. I don’t sleep in the dark, I fall asleep watching boxing. So obviously I made sure I saw as much of him as I could. I feel like I’ve seen him so much that I’ve already fought him.”
In terms of what he’s seen, Conway went on to explain: “He’s obviously very athletic, sharp and explosive. But I have a lot of experience and my boxing skills will stand out. I am the superior boxer, technically and mentally. I’ve been in the trenches, I know what it feels like, and now it’s my time to put my foot on the gas and take control. Every time he does something, I’m going to match him. He will not be able to dominate and do things his way like he has done with other fighters. I’m also going to be the greatest fighter. I’m a great middleweight and when I get in the ring I’ll be closer to light heavyweight.”
Big, experienced and battle-hardened, Conway proceeded to emphasize the need and his intention to be on Williams from the first bell to the last, like a hunting dog, so to speak. He also knows that now is the time for a little less talk and a little more action, as well as the importance of stepping into Austin Williams’ blue suede shoes, dirtying both the shoes and the American’s spotless professional record in the process. .