Facing a “tougher than expected” opponent, Simon Kean was able to triumph with a knockout. Thursday evening, in the semi-finals of the Mbilli-Gongora gala at the Casino de Montréal.

Kean (23-1, 22 KOs) sent his rival, Eric Molina (29-9, 21 KOs), to the mat in the 7th round before referee Yvon Goulet ended the match. debate.

“He was tougher than I thought he would be,” he explained. It was a good challenge. »

Molina managed to connect on many shots and made the crowd react largely in favor of the Trifluvien. It was just window dressing, Kean said.

“I haven’t been shaken once. The punches can look worse than they really are,” noted Kean, thoroughly drained and soggy after the fight.

Kean, however, conceded that he needed to show “balls” to win.

The one who was cheered on by the crowd throughout the duel also had a message for his detractors.

“For those who thought I was finished, I want to tell them it’s just getting started. I happen to have a contract with Top Rank to be announced shortly. »

It was something of a return to the ring for Kean, who hadn’t actually boxed in a year.

For his part, Molina confirmed on Monday that this fight was going to be his swan song. The American therefore ended his career with a fourth loss by K.-O. in his last six duels.

On the undercard, Calgarian Steve Claggett (34-7-2, 24 KOs) and his opponent Rafael Guzman Lugo (26-3-2, 16 KOs) fought a furious fight that the Canadian ultimately won. Lugo’s corner gave up in the 7th round.

“The nice thing is that my opponent came here to put on a show, to win,” said Claggett, who had several good combinations. He didn’t just curl up. »

Luis Santana (9-0, 3 K.-O.) fought a furious fight to win by K.-O. technique against Francisco Arturo Ramirez Martinez (11-5, 6 KOs). In fact, the athlete from Saint-Michel only needed two and a half rounds for his rival to throw in the towel.

In one of the most hard-fought fights of the night, Leïla Beaudoin (9-0, 1 KO) preserved her perfect record with a unanimous decision win over Laura Avendan Mondragon (6-1, 2 K.-O.). The native of Rivière-du-Loup received a particularly warm welcome from the crowd and was encouraged by them throughout the fight.

After the fight, Beaudoin said she was unfazed by the change in weight. The day before, during the official weigh-in, her rival tipped the scales at 136.6 lbs, 6.6 lbs more than the planned limit of 130 lbs. The Quebecer agreed to raise the bar to 140 lbs even though she had respected the limit.

“How much do you think I weigh right now?” she asked after the fight. Last night after dinner I was 143.7 lbs. […] We knew that even if it was 140 lbs, it was not dangerous for me. »

Even if her record is starting to look good and she is in the top 10 of the World Boxing Association (9th in the world), she does not dare to get carried away.

“If a World Championship fight happens in 2024, we’ll see, but I don’t want to cut corners. I have to take the fights one at a time,” Beaudoin noted.

Rising star of Quebec boxing Wilkens Mathieu (2-0, 1 KO) came up against a surprisingly formidable opponent in José González Saldana (1-3-1). The 18-year-old Quebec native was methodical in order to extract the victory by unanimous decision.

Colombian Jhon Orobio (1-0, 1 KO) did not disappoint in his first professional fight. The new colt of Marc Ramsay signed a victory by K.-O. technique in the first round against Alejandro Medina de la Rosa (2-2, 2 K.-O.).

As a curtain raiser, Quebecer Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse (4-1, 1 KO) made a successful return to the ring. The pugilist from Saint-André-Avellin hadn’t fought for more than five years, but that didn’t stop her from taking the measure of Princess Hairston (2-2-1, 2 KOs) by unanimous decision at light heavyweight. His last fight was a setback in a world title fight at heavyweight.

“I felt so good,” Lepage-Joanisse said. Normally, in the hallway, I felt stressed, but not today. I felt good. I felt at home. »

Adoptive Montrealer Mary Spencer was also scheduled to fight at the gala, but a hand injury on Monday morning forced her bout to be cancelled.