Alamodome, Texas - In a reserve match for the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament, Keith Tapia (18-1, 11 KOs) won a one-sided ten round unanimous decision over Lateef Kayode (21-2, 16 KOs), who is trained by Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach.
The scores were 100-89, 100-89 and 99-90.
Kayode was very rusty after a long layoff and he was getting outboxed and tagged throughout the entire fight.
During the closing moments of the sixth round, Kayode was decked hard and went back to his corner on unsteady legs. He tried to make a stand in the ninth round, but was still outpunched and rocked again in the closing moments.
For Tapia it was easy cruising in the remaining final round. He easily outboxed Kayode, who no answers to change the tide in the final three minutes.
The 27-year-old Tapia returned to the ring after dropping a decision to unbeaten Andrew Tabiti that snapped a 17-fight win streak to begin his professional career. Originally from Puerto Rico but fighting out of the Bronx, Tapia has picked up victories over durable veterans Garrett Wilson and Anthony Caputo Smith and now looks to cement his status as a cruiserweight contender.
A former title challenger at cruiserweight, Kayode last battled Denis Lebedev for his cruiserweight crown in a November 2015 bout in Russia. Fighting out of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Nigeria, Kayode has shared the ring with the likes of Antonio Tarver and Luis Ortiz while taking down Felix Cora Jr, Matt Godfrey and Nick Kisner on his way to an unbeaten mark after his first 21 pro fights.
"I usually start warming up in the fourth or fifth round, but I started much faster tonight. I knew I had the advantage in speed and I took advantage of it.
"I haven't been in the ring for a year, but my team got me ready and in great shape for this fight. My timing was the key to the fight. My trainer told me Kayode would drop his left hand and I'd be able to land my right hand, and that's what I did.
"Fights like this are going to get me to the championship level. I've always felt like I'm a champion since I started in this sport. I'm ready to fight anybody. I'll take a couple days off then get right back in the gym."
"I tried to stay on my game plan. He was very fast but he did not hurt me. I thought I deflected a lot of his shots. When I tried to attack him he started moving. I had to adjust my game plan.
"I didn't see the punch that knocked me down. I heard the bell and then the punch was there. I think he started the punch before the bell rang.
"I was ready for this fight. I prepared very well for this fight. He was very fast in there and had good defense. I had some chances later in the fight to land my shot, but it was too late for me to take advantage."