Northampton ace Conway ready for 'weird' Friday fight night

Northampton boxer Kieron Conway admits ‘it is going to be weird’ when he takes on Nav Mansouri in the third of Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Nights behind closed doors on Friday.
Kieron Conway (right) is ready to show his class once againKieron Conway (right) is ready to show his class once again
Kieron Conway (right) is ready to show his class once again

Matchroom are staging a series of boxing shows from the back garden of the organisation’s headquarters in Brentwood, Essex, and Conway will take on fellow Englishman Mansouri for the vacant World Boxing Association Inter-Continental Super Welter Title.

The night is headlined by the Commonwealth Middlewight title fight between Felix Cash and Jason Welborn, but the clash between Conway and Mansouri is also eaglerly anticipated.

Normally there would be 1,000s of fans taking in the action at a big indoor arena, but not this time, as thanks to the ban on crowds due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Conway will for the first time enter a ring surrounded by not a lot else but thin air.

“It is going to be weird, but it is our job, and whether there is people there or not, we have still got to put a show on,” said the 24-year-old, who is nicknamed ‘Too Class’.

“There are still TV cameras, and there are going to be however many watching at home on television, and it is your job, it is your career.

“You can’t be doing things differently, you have to just stick to the gameplan and stay focused, I don’t have any other option.”

So, does he normally notice the crowd when he is in the heat of battle?

“Sometimes you notice it,” said Conway. “For instance when you start landing a few shots you can hear them shouting.

“You can hear certain voices here and there from ringside, and it does give you a bit of a boost, but now it is not there we have just got to focus on how it is.

“We have to try and forget there is no crowd there, and do what we have got to do.”

Conway is champing at the bit to get back in the ring, having not boxed since beating Craig O’Brien on points at York Hall last December.

He was initially scheduled to take on Mansouri in March, and then April, but then Covid-19 brought boxing, and sport in general, to a standstill.

Conway has been very fortunate in that his dad and trainer, James, opened up his new Team Shoe-Box gym in January, just a few weeks before the pandemic hit.

With it being private premises, it meant Conway was allowed to use the venue and its facilities throughout the lockdown, and that has been a big bonus.

“I didn’t stop over Christmas, and then came straight back in because I thought I was boxing in March, so it has been frustrating,” he said.

“When they announced the shows were off, it must have been about two or three weeks before my fight (in April), and when I found out I threw my gloves across the room, I was fuming.

“I hated it because boxing is what I do, and it was a nightmare not being able to fight.”

Initially, Conway trained at home after installing a tyre punch bag at his home, but it wasn’t enough.

“That’s all the training I was doing for about a couple of weeks, but then because we have this gym, I just kept coming up here,” said the former Kings Heath amateur.

“That meant I was, to a certain extent, able to train the whole way through everything and it meant I could keep my base fitness, and stuff like that.”

And on the advantage of using the Team Shoe-Box gym, he added: “I told somebody about this place the other day, and he said ‘did you know lockdown was coming or something?’.

“It does seem like that because we got it all sorted just before it happened, which was perfect timing, because if we had left it another month then we wouldn’t have had it and I would have just been training in my house!”

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