CHICAGO — The road to Kenneth Sims Jr.’s May 13th WBA super lightweight title eliminator fight against Batyr Akhmedov were paved with tribulations. However, the timing for the Chicago native, known as, “Bossman” couldn’t have been better. Sims Jr. is currently on a 6-fight winning streak and hasn’t been on the other side of winning since November of 2018. He’s also knocked out his last two opponents, both in the 5th round. During that 6-fight winning streak stretch, he defeated two previously undefeated fighters as well. “Bossman” credits this recent success for learning on the job how to train like a professional opposed to an amateur. His work will be cut out for him against Akhmedov, but Sims Jr. feels Akhmedov and the world will see the best of him on Saturday night live on Showtime.
“Bossman” gives Zenger News the scoop on his newly found success, talks about his motivations, and much more.
Zenger: Fight week is upon us, and you have the biggest fight of your career on Saturday night against, Batyr Akhmedov. How was preparation for this fight?
Sims Jr: It’s been great. I feel great. My weight is good, training is good, everything is good. I think everything is on point. I’m just ready to show everybody what I can do.
Zenger: You are on a 6-fight winning streak, 2 consecutive knockouts, your last loss was in 2018, what changed after that fight that led to this streak?
Sims Jr: A lot changed. I really was inexperienced. Even as a professional, I was training like an amateur. I was doing everything like an amateur because that’s what I did for so long. I didn’t make any changes when I turned pro. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was me and my dad, we didn’t have any professional experience. Around Chicago there was no one to guide me or tell me what I should be doing or try to help me. I was learning on the job, and I just learned as I went on.
Zenger: How did the implementation of Kay Koroma as a trainer enhance what you were already doing?
Sims Jr: He is a big enhancement. It’s not like he tried to change me. I knew what my strengths were, but he made me understand how to use them better.
Zenger: Akhmedov is a tough guy, he has the experience of fighting the champion, Alberto Puello in his last fight and although he came up short, he did get that valuable experience. However, you have double the number of fights he has professionally. How does that play into your favor on fight night?
Sims Jr: I think my experience will play a big factor because I’ve been boxing my whole life, so it’s not too much somebody can get in the ring and physically or strategically do that would really shock me. And with him, I think he only has one choice, he can’t out box me. I already know what their game plan is going to be, they are going to try and pressure me. I think my experience with that, just being in the gym with a lot of top-notch fighters, being around a lot of top-notch fighters, and learning over the years, I think that is going to play a big part.
Zenger: You have sparred against Manny Pacquiao, so the fact that Akhmedov is a southpaw doesn’t bother you I’m sure.
Sims Jr: Somebody asked me the other day about him being a southpaw. As long as I’ve been boxing, southpaw or orthodox really doesn’t matter. I’m doing the same thing, it’s just a different stance. Either stance bothers me. I gotta go out there and do the same thing no matter what stance they are standing in.
Zenger: Co-main event on a Showtime card, this is a huge stage, WBA title eliminator. Are you approaching this fight as a regular fight, or do you want to put the added pressure on yourself?
Sims Jr: I approach it like it’s a regular fight. I’ve been telling people; the Elvis Rodriguez fight was the first time I was able to tune out all the pressure and just go in there and be myself. Since then, I have been able to get into a zone before the fights and just lock in. I have been able to block out all the distractions and make the fight the only thing that’s on my mind. That’s a big part of this winning streak too, is just me learning how to get into my zone when I’m getting ready to fight.
Zenger: For this training camp, have you focused on what you are doing and have to do to win this fight, or have you studied Akhmedov film?
Sims Jr: I watch a lot of boxing, so of course I watch him and break down stuff. I point stuff out to Kay and my dad, and they’ll point stuff out to me. Me personally, anytime I’m just chillin, I’m watching his fights. I may not watch a whole fight, but I’ll watch some portions of it to look for stuff that I can exploit. I know everybody fights everybody differently, but everyone also has tendencies that they’re going to do no matter what. I look for those types of things, but for the most part I’ve been focusing on me being able to be ready for any and everything that come my way.
Zenger: Through the frustrations of boxing, what has kept you in the right frame of mind mentally and physically to be in this position?
Sims Jr: Support! The support from my family, support from Coach Kay, support from the guys that I train with. Before the Elvis Rodriguez fight, my fiancé was pregnant with my first kid. That’s a big thing. I have never had a regular job, so I had to find a way to make this work because I got people depending on me now.
Zenger: How do you avoid letting this moment be too big once the bell rings?
Sims Jr: It doesn’t cross my mind at all. I haven’t even thought about it. It’s just boxing. Once I step into that ring, I don’t care how bright the lights are. I might be nervous a couple of days before, the day of, or in the back, but as soon as I start walking to the ring, it all goes away, and I only see a boxing ring.
Zenger: The division is well on its way to getting clarity, Regis Prograis just announced his next fight against Liam Paro, we have Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez squaring off. Have you had an opportunity to check the landscape of the division, or is your sole focus on May 13th?
Sims Jr: I see everything, but I’m not really thinking about anything else until I take care of this business Saturday. I pay attention to everything in boxing, so I know what’s going on. I haven’t thought about it too much yet.
Zenger: What do you feel you have to do in order to be successful on Saturday night?
Sims Jr: I feel like the boxing world still hasn’t seen the best of me or seen everything that I’m capable of. There will be a couple of surprises. I won’t say too much, but I think Akhmedov and his team will be surprised. The world has not seen everything that I can do. I’m very versatile. I can do pretty much anything in the ring, whether it’s inside, outside, or mid-range. That’s going to be a big surprise to everybody.
Zenger: You felt the Elvis Rodriguez fight people took notice; do you feel like Saturday night will be your coming out party?
Sims Jr: Absolutely! I think the Elvis Rodriguez fight was more of what people hoped he could be, and I think this fight is against someone who has proven that they are in the top of the division, and they can compete in the top of the division. I think if I can prove that I am a level above him, then that will prove that I’m a level above someone at the top and I’m at the top.
Zenger: For anyone watching Kenneth Sims Jr. for the first time, what can they expect to see from you on Saturday night?
Sims Jr: They can expect an exciting fight. I’m a boxer, I fight smart, but I’m always exciting. I’m never in a boring fight. They can expect the birth of a star. I’m coming to take over the 140-pound division.
Edited by Virginia Van Zandt
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