Simon Kean feels inspired in his role of underdog ahead of fight with Joseph Parker
Simon Kean will get his opportunity to gatecrash the heavyweight scene when he faces former titleholder Joseph Parker on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Kean, who represented Canada at the 2012 London Olympics, has had to be patient as a professional, while waiting for a big fight to come his way.
“I’m excited to shock the world,” Kean (23-1, 22 knockouts) told The Ring. “I know I’m a top fighter, it’s time for me to show it and put my name at the top of the rankings.”
The 34-year-old acknowledges the magnitude of appearing on the undercard of Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou, but isn’t getting carried away.
“Although it’s glamorous, given the size of the event and the country where it’s taking place, I’m keeping the focus on my own fight,” he said. “My target is Parker, that’s all that matters.”
This will mark the second fight Kean has worked with Jessy Ross Thompson. In their first fight together, Kean stopped former two-time heavyweight title challenger Eric Molina in seven rounds.
Thompson is happy with how training camp has been and glad of the extra time the two have had to continue their work together ahead of an even bigger fight than he had originally scheduled in the summer.
“We were supposed to fight back in August against [Guido] Vianello, and that (fight) got postponed,” said Thompson. “So, we’ve kind of had a double camp. We’ve been working hard since May. I’m happy because this is my second fight with Simon so the more time I get with him the more we get to work on stuff, the more tools I can bring to his game and also I understand him more than I used to. The more time you spend with a fighter the more you can see what works with them and what doesn’t work.
“We’ve very happy with the work we’ve done so far, we’re very excited to see them come to life next Saturday night against Parker. It’s been steady progress, no injuries, nothing holding us back come fight night. No excuses.”
Kean, who is a -800 (1/8) underdog, is well versed in what Parker brings to the table and what a victory would mean to his own career.
“He’s a smart and fast boxer,” said Kean, careful not to give too much away. “You know, I’m really excited to be the underdog. I had a great training camp, I never stopped believing in myself and yes, this fight will be full of surprises [laughs.]
“[A win would be] the key to even bigger fights.”
Kean’s long-time promoter, Camille Estephan, of Eye of The Tiger regards this as a big challenge for his fighter but a necessary one if he can take the next step in his career.
“Simon Kean knows really what he’s up against, an ex-world champion and Parker being a consummate professional,” said Estephan. “Simon knows what this opportunity represents and he doesn’t want to miss it.
“I believe Simon is underrated in his skills and we all know his nuclear power can change the landscape. So, it will be a great fight, I have no doubt.”
The former amateur standout from New Zealand claimed the vacant WBO title at the expense of Andy Ruiz Jr. (MD 12) and made two defenses before losing a unification with Anthony Joshua (UD 12). He lost a razor-thin decision to Dillian Whyte but has won his next six fights, which included a pair of wins over perennial contender Chisora (SD 12/ UD 12). The 31-year-old lost a physically grueling fight against Joe Joyce (KO 11) but has rebounded with two lower-level wins this year.
Parker is more rounded fighter and he’s bounced back well from the Joyce loss and will be favored but will have to be weary of Kean’s power, particularly early on, if he can do that, he’ll takeover and score a second half stoppage.
Parker-Kean will be a part of the undercard to Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou “Battle Of The Baddest” on ESPN Pay-Per-View beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. PT
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].