Sam Peter To Povetkin: Put Up Or Shut Up And Move Out Of The Way
There's an old saying that "getting to the top is tough; staying there, tougher." Perhaps nobody currently active in the sport of boxing knows that any better than Samuel Peter. However, by virtue of his two-round destruction of Nagy Aguilera last Friday night's IBF Heavyweight Eliminator in Grapevine, TX, the former WBC World Heavyweight Champ known as "The Nigerian Nightmare" served notice to the heavyweight division that he is back in the world title picture as the #2 IBF mandatory challenger after current mandatory Alexander Povetkin accepts -- or passes up -- his opportunity to fight for the title.
Article posted on 18.03.2010
"We have basically blocked out all challenges to Wladimir Klitschko with the exception of his long overdue mandatory against Alexander Povetkin, who's been the #1 contender since January of 2008," Peter's longtime manager Ivaylo Gotzev disclosed. "Povetkin has been in that position for over two years and three months. Wladimir's next defense has to be for his IBF title. That's a must! And Samuel is ready for either of them!."
Peter has his eyes focused on Saturday's WBO and IBF World Heavyweight Title bout between two of the three men to claim victory over him: the defending champion Vladimir Klitschko and #1 WBO mandatory and #3 IBF challenger Eddie Chambers. Since this will be a WBO Mandatory, the winner's next title defense will be IBF-mandated against Povetkin. The Peter camp believes that the 6-7, 240-pound Ukrainian known as "Dr. Steelhammer" will emerge victorious over the undersized American.
"Then it will be time for Povetkin to put up or shut up and move out of the way to let a more deserving challenger step in there against Wladimir. "And that man is me! I am next in line after Povetkin," Peter (34-3, 27 KOs), declared.
But the former WBC Heavyweight Champion had to overcome a great deal of adversity before he could become an established world title contender again.
Just seven months after stopping Oleg Maskaev to claim outright ownership of the WBC crown in March, 2008, Peter lost it in his first defense when he retired on his stool after the eighth round against the "other" Klitschko - older brother Vitali. Expectations of a rebound win against undersized heavyweight contender Eddie Chambers in March of last year didn't materialize as Peter, who weighed in at a career-high 265 pounds, looked uncharacteristically sluggish and lost a majority decision in Los Angeles.
It had become obvious to Gotzev that there were issues within the Peter camp that weighed heavily on the fighter's mind, and Gotzev took immediate measures to help his fighter regain his confidence and dedication to his craft.
"Losing to Eddie Chambers - even though I don't believe we actually lost -- was like a blessing in disguise," said Gotzev, who has headed Peter's management team since the 2000 Olympic Games at Sydney, Australia. "It opened my eyes to the fact that Sam was uncomfortable with his training and promotional direction, and changes were needed to give his career a transfusion and get him more focused on being the fighter we all saw when he won the world title and know he can become again."
To that end, Gotzev approached promoter extraordinaire Bob Arum and reached an agreement for Arum's Top Rank, Incorporated to take over as Peter's promoter. In addition, Gotzev called upon veteran trainer Abel Sanchez to take over as Peter's head trainer. Sanchez, best known for mentoring the Norris brothers - Terry and Orlin - along with Lupe Aquino and Nana Konadu to world title careers, has a training camp in Big Bear Lake, CA, and that is where Peter now trains. Gotzev's maneuverings have paid early dividends, as Peter has notched four straight knockout victories since bringing Top Rank and Sanchez aboard. Perhaps even more eye-opening was that , at 237 ½ pounds, Peter came into his most recent fight at the lowest weight since his seventh professional fight back in November, 2001.
"We flew under the radar to Dallas with everything set in motion for Sam to be a dominant force," Gotzev revealed after watching the newly-sculpted and motivated wrecking machine demolish Nagy. "Sam is more relaxed since putting all his promotional issues behind him and came into this last fight in the best shape of his career."
With all of his issues and emotional unrest clearly in the rear-view mirror, a rejuvenated Samuel Peter is ready for whatever opportunity is to come next.
"I am ready to regain my title as heavyweight champion of the world," Peter insists. "I am out to avenge all of my losses. I expect it will be Klitschko first in a must-fight, but I'd love to step back in the ring with Eddie Chambers, either next fight if he beats Klitschko or down the road.
"I knocked Wladimir Klitschko down three times in our fight and somehow didn't get the decision," a disbelieving Peter pointed out. "Next time we meet, he won't get back up. As for Eddie Chambers, I don't mind beating him again, but this time I will leave no doubt."
Gotzev is very pleased with the overall impact the change in promoter and trainer has had on the hard-hitting and confident Samuel Peter, and he believes his fans and those of heavyweight boxing will be as well.
"The puncher has been missed in the heavyweight division," Gotzev believes. "Samuel is the best puncher-supreme in the division. Now he is mentally and physically in shape and re-dedicated to the game. He is ready to regain his status as a World heavyweight Champion."
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