Sports

Simon Kean: The Powerful Pugilist from Quebec

Simon Kean debuted at the 2012 London Olympics and ended up tied for fifth place in the super heavyweight category. He lost in the quarterfinals to eventual bronze medalist Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan. Prior to the Olympics, Simon Kean finished third at the AIBA American Olympic Qualification Tournament and sealed a spot in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Just three years earlier, Kean was in danger of never walking again after suffering a badly broken right leg when an ATV on which he was a passenger flipped after hitting a rock, pinning him underneath. A severe infection added to doctors’ concerns that they would have to amputate. During a lengthy surgery, they took muscle from higher up in his leg and used it to repair his deformed ankle area using a graft. Kean spent three months in a wheelchair and then two months walking with canes, but less than six months after the accident he returned to training, ahead of any schedule that had been set. Simon Kean earned his first ever junior national championship in 2007. In his senior nationals debut, he finished third. He went on to win his maiden National title in 2011. He also won the national team selection tournament in 2012. Simon Kean went on to add another title to his ever growing trophy cabinet during the latter half of 2014. 

Simon Kean: All You Need to Know

How did Simon Kean start boxing?

Hungry and ambitious, Simon Kean qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. After a victory over the renowned French boxer Tony Yoka, he lost in the following round against Kazakh Ivan Dychko. Accumulating almost 70 fights in addition to having acquired significant experience on the national and international scene, the heavyweight native of Trois-Rivières decided to make the jump into the professionals in 2015 by joining forces with Eye of The Tiger Management.

Kean quickly accumulated victories by KO and continued to impress after his impressive performances, notably against Alexis Santos or Adam Braidwood. As he climbed quickly through the rankings, Kean suffered his only career loss when he faced fellow Canadian heavy hitter Dillon Carman. The one nicknamed the Grizzly, however, rolled up his sleeves and came back full force by knocking out Rogelio Omar Rossi after which he immediately got his revenge against Carman in their rematch and finished him in the third round. Simon Kean faced a major challenge in the form of former world champion Sergei Liakhovichon December 7th. It was in front of a lively crowd that Simon Kean finished the work during the tenth and final round.

Which division does Simon Kean fight in?

Simon Kean fights in the heavyweight division. He weighs 110 kgs or 242 pounds. The future looks bright for the Grizzly who intends to wreak havoc in the heavyweight division.

How tall is Simon Kean?

Simon Kean is 1.96 metres or six feet five inches tall (6’5”)

What does the future hold for SImon Kean?

Canada has been in the news in the U.S. more than usual lately as reports touching on the relationship between America and it’s up-north neighbor have been bandied about. American President Donald Trump has used sharp language regarding Canada, and bemoaned what he feels are trading inequalities between the nations. It’s not a familiar terrain, as the two parties have seldom had more than a very occasional tiff.

One wonders, are the two powers destined to get deeper into acrimony? Might the long-standing spell of calm and mutual respect be broken? Is a new rivalry brewing in their midst? Will America vs Canada be pushed as a marketing and promotional strategy by North American boxing promoters?

It’s unlikely. There hasn’t been any uptick in anti-Canadian sentiment, not many American citizens are hopping on a bandwagon and demeaning Canada or threatening boycotts of their products.

So don’t expect Canada’s 15-0 (14 KOs) heavyweight hopeful, Simon Kean, to enter a face-off with an American prospect pitched as an international grudge match. But there is an off buzz about the Quebec resident Kean, who took part in the 2012 Olympics and is currently on the Eye of the Tiger managerial roster.

The 29-year-old hails from Quebec, where they mostly speak French. So even though he speaks English well, Simon Kean needs some re phrasing for some questions. Simon Kean’s father committed suicide when he was only 16. When asked how he dealt with the pain, Kean said, “I feel bad … sad. After that happened, I began training a lot more. He pushed me.”

He had only taken up boxing months earlier, at age 16, after having done judo. Even though he started quite late compared to more professional boxers, he progressed in leaps and bounds, showing a great reservoir of athleticism. His skill set grew and he hit a mark that he’d aimed at, getting onto the crew to attend the 2012 Games. During the Games in London, he defeated current day professional boxer Tony Yoka, but was bounced from the tourney by Russian Ivan Dychko. And he might’ve advanced further, if he was fighting with two healthy limbs. “Boxing with one hand, the left hand, I beat Yoka,” Kean said. “And now, as a pro, I have two hands, and I’m more experienced. I get money for training. That’s why I’m going to be the next world champion. I’m sure about that!”

Camille Estephan heads up Eye of the Tiger. Simon Kean’s image in the boxing world saw a major boost after the way he handled seasoned pro David Lemieux.

“In my view, Kean’s potential is extremely high,” Estephan said. “He is a very serious athlete, extremely committed and talented, and he could topple anybody … He’s a real threat to the whole division!”

Estephan talked about the bond Simon and his dad had, and he believes that the strength of character he showed in not fracturing after his dad took his own life is an indication of how his mental strength serves him in the ring. “For his roadwork, Simon’s father used to drive behind him and beeped at him if he was too slow! Simon didn’t want to wake up the neighbourhood at 6 a.m.,  so he ran faster,” he said, chuckling. “He was driven to excel and be a top athlete. At the age of 16, Simon lost his father and it was very difficult for him to cope. Nonetheless, he showed tremendous character from a very young age to keep his life together and persevere. Simon did not take up boxing because he liked to box or to defend himself, he took up boxing because he loved to fight and just wanted to get better at it.”

The promoter continued his positive assessment of the Canadian hitter: “He has dynamite in his hands, and though he is not the slickest, he is extremely efficient, Vitali Klitschko-like. I am not comparing him to Klitschko; he’s not there yet, but he could be. His jab is absolutely devastating and he has a great right hand. His power is concussive to say the least.”

Of course we expect Estephan to have rose-colored glasses on when it concerns his guy. But that he’s willing to be so profuse with his labels, it is slightly exciting, because he’s somewhat putting his rep as a talent scout on the line when he shares such upbeat analysis of the prospect.

OK, are there any downsides we should know about or deficits he needs to shore up? “A very bright guy, Simon has a bit of a short fuse,” Estephan continued. “He’s not the right guy to mess with; he can be explosive. Not the type to be tickled. A very strong character. He had him some visits from authorities, but now all that is behind him and he is completely invested in his career.”

OK, good to know and acknowledge. Yes, at times some of the same traits that make someone a superior pugilist can prove to be deleterious when exhibited outside the squared circle.

But his fanbase is growing, Estephan noted. He shared some specifics. “We’ve made a deal with TVA sports to show his fight versus Ignacio Esparza live. That was before his last fight against Adam Braidwood.

“​TVA Sports is a national sports specialty channel in Quebec. The population of Quebec is 6 million. They have 1.8 million subscribers. Peak viewership at midnight hit 307,000. This is a massive result when you compare viewership of Showtime and HBO often peaking at 600k or 700k with a population of over 360 million across the U.S.. Both channels also have more than 28 million subscribers. Simon ‘The Grizzly’ Kean is officially ‘must-see TV’. Most importantly he can put any heavyweight to sleep and fans to their feet!” The promoter offered this summation on the 15-0 puncher, who holds the IBO inter-continental crown: “Simon Kean is destined to fight the biggest names. When he’s ready for those guys, we will make our moves. We hope that by 2019-2020 every boxing fan will know his name.”

Simon Kean  has expressed a desire to get a shot at the absolute best of the heavyweight category. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder … yup and yup. “This year later I want to train and fight in the U.S., maybe California, after my next fight (October 6 in Quebec),” said Kean. “I love the U.S.! And if you don’t know who I am, keep your eyes open. I am the next one!”

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