Souleymane Cissokho Picks WBA Inter-Continental Title WIth Win Over Kieron Conway
On the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders, two up and coming super welterweights put it all on the line in a high stakes showdown. In the end, the gamble paid off for Souleymane Cissokho (13-0, 8 KO’s) who prevailed by way of split decision win over highly touted British fighter Kieron Conway.
Cissokho was an amateur standout who won the Bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic trials. He managed to even snag an amateur victory over Josh Kelly. However, Cissokho did suffer defeats to Vasiliy Lomachenko and Ivan Baranchcyk before turning pro. The Senegalese pugilist also had the distinction of competing in the World Series of Boxing as well as winning the France super welterweight title back in 2019. Now currently trained by Virgil Hunter, he is looking to make a presence in the rankings.
The UK import Kieron “Too Close” Conway (16-2-1, 3 KO’s) also enjoyed a favorable amateur career. However, the tricky southpaw has achieved his great notoriety as a professional. Ironically Too Class’ career switched in the next gear following his June 2109 draw with Ted Cheeseman. Following that bout he garnered heavy attention and was signed by Matchroom Boxing. Conway would later make another huge statement with his UD win over Maccaulay McGowan in his last outing. Currently he is ranked #14 (WBA).
SET THE JAB TO CRUISE CONTROL
The bout opened in standard feel out fashion and didn’t see any jaw-dropping action. The notably short Cissokho set up shop in the middle of the ring and shot a great deal of stabbing jabs to Conway’s belly. He also landed the occasional straight right on the jaw bone. The second round largely mirrored the first although Conway did start having some offensive success. About the halfway point in the round he knocked Cissokho off balance with a hard right hook. Later he would land several solid left hooks to the body and a crispy left hook in the teeth.
The Senegalese fighter continued to dominate the third with his jab and now had Conway’s nose leaking. While he enjoyed a bit more success in the fifth round, the British contender still did not do enough to carry the period. The biggest mistake that he was making was continuously waiting on the Senegalese to punch first. Neither his hands nor his heavy feet were quick enough to keep pace with his low crouching, nimble foe. As a result he continued to feast on jabs to the mouth and abdomen.
Once again in the seventh Conway enjoyed a bit of fleeting success. He was able to do this by punching with Cissokho rather than waiting for him to get done. The trouble was his undefeated foe had no desire to engage a firefight. So when he got caught he would simply move around a bit forcing Conway to reset and move around on his heavy feet. Once done he resumed jabbing Too Class to death.
During the eighth round Cissokho used his feet to move around the ring a great deal more. Yet, with the added movement he opted to put longer, harder punch combinations together. It was clear that getting hit the harder shots was frustrating Conway.
A CLOSE CALL!
In a stunning turn of events in the ninth, Conway caught Cissokho with a damaging left uppercut that was preceding by punishing body work. The Senegalese immediately clutched his face and slowly dropped to the canvas. He was able to get back to his feet well before the count and resumed the bout without looking overly effected. Naturally when the action resumed, Too Class pounced on his downed foe but was not able to capitalize. Although he clearly lost the round, Cissokho was back in his rhythm by the end of it as his opponent seemed to let him off the hook!
The first two minutes of the final round saw Cissokho firmly back in the driver seat despite what happened in the previous round. He was still moving well and frustrating his opponent.. He even was able to nail Conway with a number of sharp uppercuts and thudding hooks. While the British contender was not hurt, one knocked him off balance and forced a stumble. Cissokho had a close call previously, but finished the fight the way he started it!
When the scorecards were read, the blasphemy of boxing scoring reared its ugly head once again. One judge had Conway wining six rounds which was a much different fight than many boxing enthusiasts witnessed. Luckily the Senegalese got his hand raised as the other two cards went his way. How anyone saw Conway winning that fight is a grand mystery.
With this win, Cissokho will find himself in the super welterweight rankings for the month of May!
By: Bakari Simpson