Pro Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker
Updated: January 3, 2008

GlovesNEW YORK — The year 2007 was a wonderful year for boxing. Fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, David Haye, Juan Diaz, Kelly Pavlik, all emerged as the new faces of boxing’s elite. Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales ended their legendary Hall of Fame careers.

As 2008 arrived, so have the Peterson Brothers. Anthony and Lamont Peterson are two of the newest faces that are making big headlines throughout the boxing community.

At the respective ages of 22 and 23, Anthony and Lamont Peterson appear to be headed toward unparalleled success in the professional ranks.

The Peterson Brothers will be featured in two separate bouts on Showtime’s first nationally televised boxing event of the year on the ever popular “ShoBox: The New Generation” series on Friday night, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi at 11 pm ET/PT.

Lamont (23-0, 11 KOs) will risk his undefeated record against a more experienced, unbeaten Antonio Mesquita (34-0, 26 KOs) in 12-round super lightweight bout.

Anthony (25-0, 18 KOs), ranked No. 1 by the World Boxing Organization, will face late-substitute Jose Antonio Izquierdo (16-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight contest.

“It’s very important to be on one of the two biggest networks,” said Peterson Brothers mentor and trainer, Barry Hunter. “The boys have matured a whole lot more and to go back on this stage and perform is great. We’re looking to perform.”

The Petersons are no stranger to fighting on TV, as both have made frequent appearances on ESPN fight cards and other regional boxing programming throughout the country.

However, the Petersons are progressing quickly and could eventually compete on the world championship level. Fighting on “ShoBox,” a program created to boost a fighter’s credibility as a world class boxer is a positive step toward eventually securing bigger fights.

In fact, Anthony is the mandatory challenger appointed by the WBO and could land a fight with unified WBA, WBC, and WBO lightweight champion Juan Diaz or WBO interim lightweight champion Michael Katsidis.

“That lightweight division is packed with talent,” Hunter said. “We can bring it back to the days of Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Ray Leonard, and Roberto Duran. It’s right there to be had.”

The 135-pound, lightweight division is packed with enormous talent. Led by Juan Diaz and Katsidis, Amir Khan, Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Oscar Diaz, Zahir Raheem, and David Diaz are considered the top fighters.

Hunter strongly believes that the Petersons are ready to take over.

“We’ve been through school,” Hunter said during an exclusive interview with BASN. “We started out with kindergarten (transitioning from amateur to professional). We’ve got to pass that exam and to beat someone like Mesquita, a fighter with a great record and high knockouts would be a big achievement.”

Although Lamont has not been positioned as a mandatory world title contender like his brother, the older of the two siblings is ranked No. 4 by the WBO and # 6. in the World Boxing Association’s super lightweight division.

Lamont too is in wonderful company at 140 pounds. Paulie Maligmaggi, Ricky Hatton, Junior Witter, Demetrius Hopkins, Randall Bailey, Victor Ortiz, Ricardo Torres, and a faded, but still dangerous Jose Luis Castillo are just some of the division’s biggest names.

“Lamont can bang and he likes to box,” Hunter added. “He’s also strong.” You have a lot of fighters and prospects everywhere. Eventually in their careers, you have to test them.”

Fighting on the mean streets of Washington, D.C., both Lamont and Anthony Peterson didn’t have it easy. They grew up having to fight poverty and criminal surroundings. The Petersons, now living in Memphis, TN, used boxing as vehicle to escape.

“It’s very difficult for young men being in the inner city of Washington, D.C.,” Hunter said. “They were taught and trained as professionals at a young age. They sacrificed video games and running the streets with their friends for boxing. They know what its like to have nothing. They really don’t know what it’s like to have.

“I can honestly say that of the many, many young men that I’ve trained, these two young men really, really love what they do. It’s not about money, it’s about passion.”

While coming up in the amateur ranks, Lamont and Anthony were both former National Golden Gloves Champions and Junior Olympic National Tournament titlists. The Petersons were known throughout the boxing community, working with professional world champions while competing as amateurs.

“Lamont, along with Anthony, grew up sparring with Mark Johnson, William Joppy, DeMarcus “Chop-Chop” Corley at the age of 16,” Hunter continued. “What Mesquita brings to the table is something familiar. Mesquita brings something that we’ve been accustomed to. It’s not unusual for someone like Lamont to be in the ring with someone like a Mesquita.”

According to Hunter, boxing is perhaps the most forgiving sport of them all. Fighters from all over the world regardless of their age, academic, or even criminal background can be afforded the opportunity to change their lives by learning a craft using their leather fists. The Petersons, through Hunter’s guidance, have been able to help lift one another from troubled streets toward their destiny.

“It’s tremendous,” Hunter concluded. “Two young men depend on each other for support. They live, train, and spar together. We all depend on one another. We end up in the gym. We sit around, spar, talk, and laugh. It’s very important. I believe in my heart they’re to do what they do. Champions of the world? Those words within itself are an important accomplishment.”

Malignaggi to defend junior welterweight title on Showtime

IBF junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (23-1, 5 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against No. 1-ranked contender, Herman Ngoudjo (16-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday night, at Bally’s in Atlantic City, NJ. That bout will be televised live on Showtime beginning at 9 pm ET/PT.

Yo-Sam Choi Dies

As exciting a sport boxing is, fighters do get hurt. Some fighters even lose their lives. On January 2, former WBA junior flyweight champion Yo-Sam Choi, of Seoul, South Korea, died after having been declared brain dead following a brutal 12-round decision victory against Heri Amol on December 25, 2007.

Choi passed out immediately in front of his hometown audience after the decision was announced. Choi then lapsed into a coma following emergency brain surgery and was declared brain dead in the days leading up to his death.

Choi, who was knocked down in the twelfth round of a fight that he was clearly winning, miraculously and courageously willed himself to his feet to hear his name called in victory one last time in front of his supporters.

Born on March 1, 1972, Choi’s biggest victory occurred on October 17, 1999 in his native Seoul, South Korea. Choi ended the four-year title reign of then WBA junior flyweight champion Saman Sorjaturong by 12-round decision.

Choi successfully defended the title three times including a repeat win over Sorjaturong (KO 7), before losing to Jorge Arce (TKO by 6) in 2002.

Choi was a good fighter. He wasn’t a whirlwind banger. Choi was a boxer that wasn’t afraid to fight. He made the best of the opportunities that were granted to him. Choi never fought outside of South Korea and Japan.

His professional record was 32-5, 19 with KOs.