WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Lamont Roach Jr. is about to be in the biggest fight of his career as he pummels a boxing bag with his dad at their NoXcuse gym in Maryland.
He's from D.C. and raised in Upper Marlboro, Md. His fight on Thursday night will be the main event in his hometown for the first time ever.
It will air on ESPN2 at 11 (tape-delay) as part of the Golden Boy Boxing event at the MGM National Harbor.
"Once I step in the ring, it's one job," Roach said. "That's it. Complete it. Do it. The job is to kill him. No one can beat me. I don't care who is on other side."
His mother Tia sure hopes he won't get brought down as she gets very anxious during these fights.
"We will see how my nerves do," she said with a laugh. "I tell my girlfriends, you may have to bring a pamper because I get so relaxed and regular."
So far nobody has been able to touch her boy. He's 15-0 and the Youth World Boxing Council's Featherweight champion.
"I'm gonna knock this kid out," Roach says with extreme confidence. "So I hope they(fans) are ready because it's going to be a party on our floor tonight. D.C. will be lit that night.
But the party is going to be missing one member. His trainer and cousin Bernard Bugaloo Roach died from a heart attack in October.
It's just the second fight Lamont will be in since his passing. Bernard trained Lamont since he was 9. He's now 22.
"I just remember being in the gym training," he said as he searched for words. "I was crying. I went home and I just kep asking why."
Bernard taught Lamont everything he knew. They spent every day together and Bernard was like a father to Lamont.
"His impact on my life was unexplainable. I wouldn't be most of the man I am today without him. He instilled some great values. He made me look at life differently. If you ask anybody who met him, they would tell you he made an impact on their life, even if it was just after one day."
"He was the type of man to take his shirt off his back for you, " Lamont Sr. added.
As expected, it's still something the family is getting over and it's far from easy.
"That was very emotional(his passing) and bad for us," Lamont Jr.'s mom fought back tears. "I think he is still getting through it. He knows he has a legacy to take on with Bernard because Bernard was so well-liked."
Even though Lamont's longtime trainer is no longer here, Lamont's focus level has gotten even higher. He's in the gym six days a week for five hours a day. He's working to make sure he's the best.
"I know that's what he would want, the 22-year-old said. We built this NoXcuse gym from the ground up: me, my dad, and cousin Bugaloo. He always put that push in me ever since I was a 9-year-old boy. I just want to continue what he wanted for me because I know he loved me dearly."
"To see him turn a negative into a positive which Bernard always talked about, I'm very proud of the way Lamont has handled things. It's been amazing."
Lamont Jr. will dedicate this fight to Bernard and every one after. It'll be tough with him not there. But the family knows he'll be watching over.
"They can hear him talking to him," as Tia choked up. "His spirit is still there."
"We carry him into the ring with our hearts, our mind, and spirit," Roach Jr. said.
Just like the name of their gym, NoXcuse Boxing, he knows there will be no excuse to not get the job done tonight despite the tragedy.
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