Northampton boxer Conway in confident mood ahead of Metcalf challenge
Kieron Conway is not a fighter to shirk a challenge.
And the Northampton boxer is very much heading into the lion’s den this weekend as he looks to bounce back from his defeat last time out at the hands of Souleymane Cissokho.
Super welterweight Conway takes on JJ Metcalf in his hometown of Liverpool on Saturday night, with close to 9,000 Scousers set to be packed into the M&S Bank Arena.
Both boxers are going into the fight off the back of losses, with Metcalf having suffered his first defeat in 23 professional fights, losing to Ted Cheeseman in a classic British British Super Welterweight title clash in Gibraltar.
Conway’s defeat to Cissokho in Texas was his first in a bout of more than three rounds, and both fighters are desperate to get the win to get their careers back on track.
Team Shoe-Box’s Conway knows it is a fight that carries plenty of jeopardy for him.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says it is a contest that ‘both guys must win’, but Conway says that is the kind of challenge he relishes.
“They were offering me a comeback fight at a lower level, saying there would be less pressure and things like that,” said the 25-year-old.
“I am thinking no, this is boxing and having a fight and calling it lower level brings more pressure.
“Also, I don’t want to be doing that, I want to get straight back into the big fights that are going to keep pushing me on in my career.
“I am not in any rush, but I am also not ready to just sit there, so I wanted to get it going again.
“This fight was there, I have always liked this fight, so I took it straight away.”
At 33, Metcalf is eight years Conway’s senior, and although the Northampton man knows he has strengths, he believes he is going into the showdown in the form of his life.
“All fighters can do certain things, and he (Metcalf) is a good puncher,” said Conway.
“But we have all been hit hard in the past, and I am not going there and intentionally going to get hit, I am going to do my best to not get hit!
“I just want to go there and put on a really good performance, and all that matters with this fight is getting the win.
“I am so focused on doing that.
“There is obviously risk involved with any fight, but the form I am in I just don’t see many people being able to beat me, it is a different mentality I am in.
“I feel great, and I am really happy with how things have been going. It has been one of the smoothest camps I have had.
“I have had good sparring, a good amount of sparring, and I am on form.”
Having lost on points to Cissokho in America, Conway knows he can’t afford any more slip-ups.
And although he does accept that scenario brings added pressure, he says the fact that it is the same for both fighters could result in a great battle.
“There is definitely more pressure, but I am not feeling it just yet,” said Conway.
“We have both just come off a defeat, and it is not going to be good for either of us if we lose.
“So there is a lot of pressure on us both winning, and that is going to make for an entertaining fight.
“The best guy on the night will win, and it will be me because I am in such good form, I can’t see any other result.
“And that is not just boxer’s talk, I literally feel that good at the minute. I have never been this on form.”
But what about that crowd?
Conway, whose main sponsor is S&D paving, is set to have around 200 supporters travelling up from Northampton, but they are going to be heavily outnumbered.
“It is what it is, and I am not fazed by that kind of thing at all,” said the former Kings Heath amateur.
“The last time I had a whole crowd against me was when I fought Ted Cheeseman, and people called that my best performance.
“So hopefully that will happen again, and I am pretty confident I will bring out a big performance with that crowd against me.
“I am looking forward to it, and I think the crowd will start liking me after they realise the level I am at.”
And on those travelling from town, he added: “Hopefully I will be able to hear them above the 1,000s of Scousers!”
The Conway versus Metcalf fight is on the undercard of Liam Smith versus Anthony Fowler, plus the British title fight between Cheeseman and Troy Williamson and WBA world title fight between Shannon Courtenay and Jamie Mitchell.
The show is being screened live on DAZN from 7pm.