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Interview with unbeaten heavyweight prospect, Lateef "Power" Kayode African Boxing Fight of the Year 2007
Unified and Undisputed in 2008 Rage from the Andrade vs Bute Fight




December 21, 2008 - Last night, the Hollywood  Park Casino in Inglewood, CA was the venue for the Kahren Harutyunyan's Art of Boxing Promotion SEASON BEATINGS fight night. It was a great evening of boxing with the main even featuring former world champions. Roman Karmazin showed enough to still be in the mix for a future title shot and moving up to middleweight and defeating former world champion Bronco McKart before a crowd of 800 by a 12-round unanimous decision

But the night belonged to Lateef  "Power" Kayode and his continued pursuit of the heavyweight crown. This was a special night for many reasons. It was Lateef's last fight of the year, his 5th in as many months. All ending in victory, his last four all ending by knockouts coming in the second round. It was also a night that set the stage for what hopefully will be a long standing relationship between student and mentor. Saturday night  the young fighter from Lagos, Nigeria sat in the dressing room getting his hands wrapped by world famous trainer Freddie Roach.

Surrounded by a half dozen trainers from Wild Card Boxing Gym, the house that Freddie Roach built, and the place that Power has come to call home. Freddie has created a well oiled machine and he does it without ego, and with uttering few words. He's always gracious and no matter how long his day always stops to take a picture with a fan of which he has many.

When Lateef's hands were wrapped-- Freddie started to warm him up. Hitting the mitts with him, working on certain things he wanted Lateef to concentrate on. Things he's been putting into his head for months at Wild Card. Even during the grueling training schedule with Manny Pacquiao Freddie always found time for Lateef. As Lateef began to sweat his way through the pre-fight warmup, suddenly former Heavyweight champion James Toney walked in with an entourage. Toney immediately started to playfully razz Freddie and then after some laughs, a bunch of photos, James Toney graciously moved on and Freddie went back to work with Lateef. But Toney's visit was meaningful, because as he shook all our hands and smiled, one couldn't help think that someday the baton would be passed.

When the call came to make the walk TV cameras guided Lateef to the ring and as he entered he was at home. Freddie stepped out of the ring, the first round about to begin, having just yesterday stepped off a jet returning from a 16 hour flight from Pacquiao's birthday party in the Philippines, he now sat ringside for a four round fight at a local venue watching his work.

In between the first and second round as Freddie kneeled inside the ring he spoke only a few words to Power. The sound of the bell put Freddie back at ringside. As Power started to box just a minute into the second round those few words Freddie spoke came to fruition. His instructions simply put sent Power's opponent Ethan Cox to the canvas and when Cox beat the count Power stepped up and repeated the same again sending Cox to the canvas and through the ropes this time for good.
What's amazing about Freddie is that even now when he is surely at the top of his game it's still fresh. It still matters. When the fight was over Freddie climbed into the ring with Power for the sea of photographers. It's hard to say where this road will lead, but I think its important to make a note now, knowing how very fragile boxing truly is, that on Dec 20th 2008 Lateef Kayode and Freddie Roach celebrated KO number 4. Now that might not seem like much in the scheme of things, but to the family at Wild Card Boxing Gym-- like Dean "Irish Lightening" Byrne who won that night by TKO, it's what all those hours killing themselves at the gym is all about. 6 days a week together, the travel on the road, the hours at the gym, the politics of boxing, the celebrations, the heartbreaks, the personalities that make up boxing, its a loving dysfunctional family.

That night was also the setting for a United States record for the fastest knockout. Breaking a record set in 1939. Sixty-nine years later Orlando Brizzio, a middleweight from Italy was knocked out by local Joe Shilling in all of Five Seconds during a pro debut for both fighters.

At midnight Pepper Roach, Sammy "The Toy" Stewart and others drove back to Wild Card to collect their cars. They talked about Lateef's win, laughed about some of the craziness of the night including the record setting knockout. The two words all agreed summed up the evening was--- "that's boxing" Stay tuned 2009 is gonna be a ride.


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