By Tony Stewart
Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver faced Lateef Kayode for the IBO Cruiserweight Championship in Carson, California. Below is the round by round breakdown.
Both fighters meet in the middle of the ring circling one another feeling one another out. Neither man wanting to give ground while only offering probing punches maintain their center of the ring combat for the majority of the round. Tarver, feeling out his opponent’s strength and power while eluding punches while Kayode took his time in working behind his jab trying to land his strong right hand to little advantage. The round ends with a wistful attempt by Kayode in driving Tarver backwards but still unable to capitalize on his youth and strength advantage.
The round opens with Lateef leading the action while Tarver casually evades his attacks. Antonio’s approach thus far is to make Kayode come forward and miss punches expecting that to unsettle the mental game of his young adversary. Kayode presses his attack at points in the round while Tarver covered up against the ropes. Tarver maintains his center of the ring stance but without presenting much in the way of offense to counter Kayode’s attempts. While neither man gained the upperhand, Lateef pressed the action for the majority of the round.
Tarver against moving Lateef back while staying in the center of the ring. Tarver is showing a bit more of a concerted effort against Kayode this round. Tarver at one point counters with a nice uppercut that is immediately answered by a right hand from Kayode. Tarver establishing his jab is continuing to pepper Lateef in attempt to blind him to a right hand, an opportunity that wouldn’t manifest before the endo of the round.
Tarver starts off this round leading with the jab controlling the center of the ring while Lateef circles. So far the best round of the fight for Tarver, he is beginning to lead with more right jabs to the body of Kayode while Kayode is attempting to counter with strong power punches. A very tactically spirited round for both fighters but it appears as though Tarver had his best showing of the night for the majority of the round. The bell ends the round.
The round begins with a rush of action from Lateef Kayode appears to be gaining in confidence against the veteran Tarver landing several combinations at this point in the fight. Lateef led with a semi-committed right hand which Tarver easily countered and parried away. Straight jabs to the body of Tarver Kayode has maintained the momentum of the round dictated straight jabs to the body of Tarver as the bell sounds the end of the round.
Antonio Tarver starts the 6th round with more intention of picking up the pace after the urging of his corner. Tarver is pressing Kayode much more this round with body punches and mixing up head shots and body shots while shielding himself behind a high guard. This round finds Tarver harder to find for Kayode. Tarver finds Kayode with a straight right hand jab snapping the head back of Lateef. Kayode tried to respond and ate a seond strong left hand. The round ends with a lead right hand a moment after the bell.
Round seven had both men giving and taking evenly over the course of the round. Neither combatant gained clear advantage over the other. Tarver is leading with his jab and Kayode is showing his resilience by a relentless body attack. Kayode staggers slightly from a short left hand exasperated by a tangling of feet back to accentuate the only moment of drama in the round.
Tarver is making a claim at his place in the fight but is still slightly trailing Kayode in the fight thus far. Kayode has been showing himself as a game young and strong contender for this title. Taver continues to measure with a right jab and unleashes a staggering straight left-hand that clearly rocks Lateef on his heels momentarily. Kayode immediately responds back with a flurry of punches which Tarver completely evaded. A strong end to the 8th round for the champion Antonio Tarver.
Tarver comes out with more definitely aggressive punching this round. Hoping to capitalize on the last round action. Antoino is consistently measuring Kayode with his jab and strafing left hand. With a minute left in the round Kayode eats a strong left hand on the chin again and is unsteady on his feet while Tarver presses his attack. Kayode wanting to ensure the champion knows he is not hurt ends the round with a very strong retaliatory attack.
Fighting the fight this far in his southpaw stance, Tarver switches to orthodox for the first minute of the round to moderate success. Kayode relents to the from punches thrown from Tarver and elects to ride along the ropes. Tarver switches back to south paw wearily leads with his jab hand trying to keep Kayode confused and set him up for another strong left hand. The round concludes with very strong shots from both fighters.
This will be Lateef’s first time seeing the 11th round in his professional career so far. Tarver continues to press behind his jab while Lateef attempts to counter attack. A round very much up for grabs as Lateef presses his body attack while Tarver is looking for another one punch stunner. The bell sounds the end of the round amid a small flurry of punches from both fighters.
The final round. Antonio Tarver is seeking to seal the fate of his opponent in this round with a one-punch fight altering moment while Lateef is looking to validate his professional craftsmanship thus far and refuting the critical comments made by Antonio Tarver. Tarver continues to press forward while Lateef circles the champion and offers up a limited amount of counter-punching to ward Tarver off as the round ends.
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e had it even 114-114. The fight is declared a draw.