Antonio Tarver kept his IBO cruiserweight title in a tight tussle with Lateef Kayode as the rivals fought out a twelve-round draw that went back and forth at the Home Depot Center in California tonight.
Tarver began the bout tentatively, allowing Kayode to get a foothold and put some of the early rounds in the bank, before stepping up his work in the second half of the fight and rocking the Nigerian more than once.
The 43 year-old used all his experience and ring know-how to turn the contest around and looked comfortable through rounds 7-11 as the younger Kayode, 29, slowed down into the back straight.
The ‘Magic Man’ obviously had the more powerful punches of the two fighters as Kayode looked to work the body and the fight was close right up until the end as I had it 115-113 to Tarver on my scorecard.
With his left eye swelling going into the final round, Tarver was out-worked by Kayode in a session he probably needed to win the fight out-right and with scores of 115-113, 113-115 and 114-114, the bout was declared a draw.