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Samuel Okon Peter
The Nigerian Nightmare
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
September 6, 1980 (1980-09-06)
Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
|Wins by KO||
Samuel Okon Peter (born September 6, 1980 in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria), nicknamed "The Nigerian Nightmare," is a heavyweight boxer and the current WBC heavyweight champion. He is considered by many to be one of the strongest punchers in the heavyweight division. He was also infamous for his repeated rabbit punching of his opponents.
Early years and amateur career
Originally, Peter's preferred sport was soccer. In 1992, some boxers came to Peter's school to train. The curious young 11-year-old stopped by and asked if he could train along with them. He was put up against an experienced amateur and knocked him out. This marked the beginning of a successful amateur career for Peter.
Samuel Peter won the Nigerian amateur heavyweight championship and the Africa Zone 3 Heavyweight championship while compiling an amateur record of 18 wins and only 2 losses. He faced stiff competition as an amateur (including a knockout victory over 2000 Silver Medalist Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov of Kazakhstan). However, he prevailed and was given the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the 2000 Sydney, Australia Summer Olympics.
Peter lost in the quarterfinals to Italian Paolo Vidoz by decision. However, his performance was noted for being very impressive from such a young pugilist and hence more excitement was generated for him than the eventual Gold Medalist, Audley Harrison, to whom Peter had lost a very close decision just a few months before the Olympics.
Immediately after the Olympics, Ivaylo Gotzev signed on as Samuel Peter's manager, and Andy "Pops" Anderson became Peter's coach. They were then able to land a promotional deal with Dino Duva of Duva Boxing. As of March 2008, Peter's professional ring record stands at 30-1 (with 23 knockouts).
Though Peter posted a string of 1st-round knockouts at the beginning of his career, he fought to 2 consecutive decisions against Charles Shufford and Jovo Pudar in 2004. Some critics asked if Peter could exhibit the one-punch knockout power he had exhibited in his early days against stronger opposition.
Peter won a victory against Jeremy Williams on December 4, 2004 by knockout 27 seconds into the second round, to win the vacant NABF Heavyweight title. He then defeated Yanqui Diaz on January 22, 2005 to win the vacant USBA Heavyweight title.
On September 24, 2005 Peter faced Wladimir Klitschko in an elimination match in Atlantic City for the IBF and WBO world titles, in which Peter's NABF title was also on the line. Klitschko won a unanimous decision.
On December 15, 2005, Peter faced Robert Hawkins and won a 10 round decision.
Peter vs. Toney I & II
Peter's next bout was a fight with Heavyweight contender James Toney on September 2, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California for the right to challenge WBC Heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev. Peter would win by split decision; however, the WBC would find adequate cause to order a rematch. (This move generated just as much controversy as the decision itself, as it is uncommon to require a second fight without significant evidence that a match has been mishandled.)
On January 6, 2007, Peter defeated Toney in the rematch by unanimous decision, erasing any doubts as to the validity of the first fight. The official judges scorecards read 119-108, 118-110, 118-110.
Peter vs. McCline
After defeating Toney, Peter earned the right to fight the WBC World Heavyweight champion. A match against Oleg Maskaev was scheduled for October 6, 2007. However, Maskaev pulled out of the fight due to a back injury. This led WBC to proclaim Peter interim Heayweight Champion of the World.
Jameel McCline was scheduled to fight Vitali Klitschko on September 22 for a title elimination. However, the fight was canceled because Klitschko had suffered a back injury in training. Under these conditions, a fight was arranged between Peter and McCline. Peter stepped into the ring as the champion trying to defend his title. Much controversy preceded the match since McCline had been accused of using illegal substances in 2005 and 2006, but the organizers decided to let the fight happen despite of this. Lab analysis would be available about 5 days after the fight.
On October 6, at 10 p.m, in Madison Square Garden, Peter was knocked down 3 times in the 2nd and 3rd round by McCline, who had a height advantage of almost 6 inches. Peter managed to get up and eventually won the remaining rounds to win the match with a unanimous decision and retain his title as the WBC Interim Heavyweight Champion of the World.
As interim champion, Peter was a mandatory challenger for the WBC belt held by Oleg Maskaev, who was inactive since December 2006 due to injury. This long-anticipated fight took place on March 8, 2008, at the principal bullfighting venue in Cancun, Mexico. Peter won by TKO, with the referee stopping the fight with only a few seconds remaining in the 6th round.
Some controversy arose over the legitimacy of the referee's stoppage, as the fight had hardly been lopsided to that point, and so little time remained before the bell. Peter has also seen punching the maskaev at the back of the head. However, Maskaev was clearly staggered and had taken several unanswered heavy shots, and appeared unable to defend himself as he was knocked against the ropes. Some of the controversy was muted when Maskaev opined that the referee did the right thing in stopping the fight.
Peter was ahead on all three judges' scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Following his victory over Maskaev, Peter publicly challenged IBF and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko to a unification bout, which would be Klitschko's second such fight, as well as his second matchup with Peter (the first ending with a fairly close unanimous decision victory for Klitschko). Such a fight would unify three of the four major titles, the closest the division has been to an entirely unified title since Lennox Lewis relinquished the WBA title (one of the three he then held) by court order on April 29, 2000. Klitschko indicated he might fight Peter, but suggested that Peter should fight his brother Vitali first, who retired as WBC champion in November 2005, and is considered the WBC's champion emeritus, giving him the right to a mandatory challenge under the rules of that organization should he elect to fight again. Samuel Peter has been scheduled to fight Vitali Klitschko on October 11th, 2008, in Berlin.
Outside The Ring
Samuel Peter is a devout Christian man who neither drinks nor smokes. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada Peter is good friends with former boxer Lennox Lewis. Lewis beat Vitali Klitschko in his last bout and has given Peter tips on how to beat him.
Peter, who is managed by Ivalio Gotsev, is a stablemate to former WBO Heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich. Peter is now promoted by Duva Boxing and is trained by Andy "Pops" Anderson as well as former champion Cornelius Boza Edwards.
Promoted to full champion
Sep 24, 2007 – March 8, 2008
March 8, 2008 – present