I swear, I'll rule the world
A few years back, Nigeria's Lateef 'Power' Kayode needed to come to America to make it big after finding it difficult to get his bearing as a rookie pugilist in this country home. He knew he needed to meet and get successful people to back him to make his dream come true of winning a world title in the professional ranks. In the process, he met Steven Feder, who quickly saw promise in the raw but strong Nigerian and decided to look after Kayode. Such is his promise that he has Freddie Roach training him.
If you head for the Wild Card gym in Hollywood, California, you will most likely see Kayode hitting the heavy bag, working out vigorously throughout the day. His work ethic is second to none. It has taken him to 15-0(14) and he is not resting on his oars, he will continue to put in the work that he hopes will see him get to the Promised Land of a world title.
His next fight is on February 4 when he faces Nick Iannuzzi 16-1(9) on Show Box. He's well thought of by the various sanctioning bodies, ranked WBC 6, WBA 11, IBF 13 and WBO 4.
Here's what the likeable Nigerian had to say about his career in an exclusive interview with 15rounds.com.
Happy beating Ed Perry
I felt good about the fight. I was really relaxed although I know Perry was a good boxer. In the first and second round, I had to plan what my moves would be.
Plans for 2011
Yes, I feel like I will be ready for a world title in 2011 because of the way I am developing. Whoever is available in 2011, the coaches and my manager will arrange it.
My manager is Steven Feder of Standing Eight Management. My head trainer is Freddie Roach and the assistant is Jessie Arevalo. Mike Vale is my strength coach. My promoter is Gary Shaw. At GSP, I also speak with John Beninati, the matchmaker for Gary. I have a good team.
Journey from Nigeria and meeting with Steven Feder and Freddie Roach in Los Angeles
I first came by way of New York, then to Atlanta looking for a manager. I met several people that wanted the job, but they were fakes. I finally made it to LA. I met Steven Feder at Young Dick Tiger's gym in Los Angeles. He was there by accident. He was just working out. From there, Steven introduced me to the rest of the people who became my team.
I met Freddie at Wild Card when we went there to spar. He and Steven talked and we began working with Fred after he liked my punch. I worked the mitts with him and he said that I hit like a heavyweight. That was the beginning.
A typical day for 'Power'
When I wake up, I warm up at home first, mainly stretching. Then I spend about four hours training at Wild Card. Then, I come home and rest in the evening. After resting, I run in the evenings with my strength and conditioning coach, Mike Vale. I end my night by relaxing and watching TV.
Growing up in Nigerian
It was difficult growing up, but when you are young, you don't know anything to compare to it, only the way your life is. Everyone was poor, so we worked hard for everything. It was dangerous sometimes on the streets, but it was a way of life that I became accustomed with until I became a boxer. That's when my life there changed in every way.
I was known on the streets as 'Power' and now I am known in the ring as 'Power' for the right reasons. But I miss my country, my family and my mother. I have not seen her in the past three years and that is very difficult. I want her to meet her granddaughter. But I came to America to actualise my dream of becoming a world champion and my country and my family are in support of me in this journey. I will return there to visit and it will be great to see my friends and family as I take home the world title belt to Nigeria.
Actually, I got a late start with boxing. It wasn't until 2003 that I joined the national team. After that, things became serious for me.
America and Nigeria compared
Life in Nigeria was different in every way – the culture, the people and the way of life. In the beginning, it was hard to understand the language and to adjust to the weather. There is not too much cold in Nigeria. I also missed my native food.
I love to spend time with my newborn daughter and I like playing soccer on my video game system. Sometimes, I go to the movies or go to dinner. I really like to catch all the fights on cable.
I want to be a world champion in the cruiserweight division, then go back to Heavyweight and dominate there as well.
Train at hottest gym in world boxing with Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan etc.
I get a chance to see the greats. It is a good opportunity. I really listen to Freddie's advice. I really pay attention to him.
I don't look for anyone in particular. All I want is the belt. Whoever or wherever the belt is, that's where I want to be. I have no names in mind. I am 15-0 with 14 straight KO's, so I think people know what I can do by now. I'm proud of my two North American titles, but I want the world title.
Prayer for cruiserweight division
I want the cruiserweight to be a more popular weight class. More fans should watch cruiserweight. I am glad Showtime is willing to introduce the division and me to the fans. Also, I would like the title to come to America instead of Europe.
I hope to get the US excited about this division before I move to the heavyweight class someday.