By: Bob Trieger
TORONTO (June 10, 2011) – Two-time Canadian Olympian Troy Ross has issued a challenge to the winner of tonight’s (Friday, June 10) featured fight on ShoBox between undefeated, highly-touted Lateef “Power” Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) and former world title contender Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (20-2, 14 KOs).
Ross is the top-rated IBF contender at No. 3 (#1 and #2 are not rated), in addition to being rated No. 5 by The Ring magazine, No. 14 by the WBA, and No. 15 by the WBC.
“I think Kayode-Godfrey is a 50-50 fight and I want a shot at the winner,” Ross said. “Cunningham seems unwilling to fight me again for whatever reasons, but Kayode and Godfrey are legitimate, throwback-type fighters who both only want to fight the best. I really admire their fighting spirits and I think they’re going to have a great fight. The winner has an open invitation to fight me later this summer. All he needs to do is have his promoter contact mine.”
Ross (24-2, 16 KOs), a native of Guyana who lives in Toronto, was a member of the 1996 and 2000 Canadian Olympic Teams. The powerful southpaw was the winner of The Contender, Season Four reality television series and he portrayed light heavyweight contender John Henry Lewis in the movie, “Cinderella Man.”
In 2001, Ross made his pro debut and went on to win his first 12 pro fights, immediately rebounding from his first loss to capture the Canadian cruiserweight title in 2005, then reeled-off 11 victories in a row before controversially losing his only world title fight to Cunningham a year ago. Ross floored Cunningham in the fourth round but the fight was halted by the referee in the fifth round due to a cut on Ross’ eyelid. Troy protested insisting Cunningham thumbed him in the eye and that the fight should have ended after four rounds with a technical decision going in his favor. Many observers felt that Cunningham was on the verge of being stopped if the fight had continued. Cunningham and Ross were mandated to fight for the vacant IBF title, ironically, because Godfrey had pulled out of his fight against Cunningham.
Ross’ most notable wins to date have been against former NABF/USBA champion Felix Cora, Jr. (TKO1), Ehino Ehikamenor (TKO4), David Haye-conquerer (as an amateur) Michael Simms (DEC10), Akinyemi Laleye (DEC5), and Brazilian Olympian Daniel Bispo (KO1). Troy’s last action was a win by unanimous 10-round decision over Carl Handy (24-7-2) this past October.