If you were to tell a four-year-old Paul Kean that one day he would step into the ring for the fight of his life in front of no fans, he’d struggle to comprehend.
Even at 27, it’s something the Dundonian southpaw has had to get his head around.
Thankfully, there is plenty of time right now to think about a moment he’s been working towards his whole life.
Kean’s clash with Englishman Hamzah Sheeraz for the WBO European super-welterweight title was supposed to be on the Daniel Dubois-Joe Joyce undercard.
The coronavirus scuppered that bout at the O2 back in April, with Kean left in limbo until last week.
He now has a new date, July 10, where he’ll go toe to toe with undefeated Sheeraz at the BT Sport studios in London in front of live TV audience.
A surreal moment that only he and a few others will witness in the flesh awaits and, although it may not quite be what he imagined as a kid, it could be his big break.
He explains: “It doesn’t matter if it’s behind closed-doors, I’ve been fighting since I was four years old so when these opportunities come round you’ve got to grab them with both hands.
“I’m looking forward to it but I won’t be going in all guns blazing, I’m not that type of boxer.
“I want it more than anything. It’s all I’m thinking about all day, every day so I’m going to go down there and give everything I’ve got.
“I fancy my chances, definitely. Obviously, he’s undefeated and this will be my toughest fight to date but I think I’m more than capable of taking the win.”
Kean adds: “My manager’s not even able to come down, it’ll just be myself and my three corner men – that’s it.
“It’s a surreal experience with the testing, no one at the weigh-ins, maybe only 20 people tops in the actual room including all the camera crew.
“It’ll be a wee bit different but it is what it is, I’m just happy to get the fight.”
In fact, the 12-1 Kean believes the quiet atmosphere could give him an advantage over his 21-year-old opponent, who has been used to big crowds on his way to a 10-0 career record.
“I’m taking it as a positive because he, seemingly, takes a lot of fans to his fights,” Kean continues.
“He’s not going to have that this time, it’s just going to be him and I in the ring.
“It’ll probably feel weirder for him than me because he’s used to the big crowd.
“It’ll be like a spar for him whereas I’m used to a smaller venue, fighting in dinner shows and things like that.
“Being on TV will be different but when the fight starts and it’s quiet, that’s something that can make me better, definitely.
“There’s not as much pressure on me so I’ve got to take that as an advantage.”
Kean has been going through his final preparations at his dad Paul Kean Sr’s Skyaxe Gym this week as he prepares to make weight.
It’s been a long time in coming and Kean stresses it’s been a team effort to get him ready for the fight of his life.
“I’m buzzing to actually have a date because it’s been a long time coming,” Kean says.
“The fight was initially meant to be April so I’ve been getting in gear for this since the end of February.
“I didn’t have a date to aim for until last week so I just kept myself training properly and ready to go.
“It’s the longest camp I’ve ever had in my life! It’s only two weeks away now and that’s perfect because I’m in good shape.
“I’m already, practically, there. The only thing I needed to get in was sparring but I had a boy up from London (James Hawley) this week for that.
“We’ve been at it for three-four days now and it’s been perfect.
“He’s from Dillian Whyte’s camp so he’s a good sparrer and has fought Sheeraz before as an amateur so it’s ideal for me.”
Of his dad’s influence, Kean is philosophical, saying: “You’re in the ring yourself, boxing’s a lonely sport.
“It’s been different for me, though. I’ve been OK because my dad has been there training me.
“It’s good to have that person keeping you right and making you push when you don’t really want to.”