Professional boxer Samuel Okon Peter was born in Nigeria on September 6, 1980. When he defeated Oleg Maskaev in six rounds in 2008, he was the WBC heavyweight champion. He faced Wladimir twice (in 2005 and 2010) and Vitali once during his heyday, and he was well-known for his feud with the Klitschko brothers. He was ranked among the top ten heavyweights by The Ring from 2005 through 2008, reaching his greatest position of No. 2 in the world in 2007, and by BoxRec at the end of 2004 and 2005 and No. 5 in 2006, respectively. Peter has a 78.9% knockout-to-win ratio and is renowned for his hitting power.

Early years and amateur career

Football used to be Peter’s favored sport. Boxers came to his school in 1992 to practice. The young 11-year-old came over and inquired about joining them in training. He faced off against an expert amateur and defeated him. For Peter, this was the start of a fruitful amateur career.

Both the Africa Zone 3 Heavyweight Championship and the Nigerian Amateur Heavyweight Championship were won by him. He had to compete against experienced players (including a knockout victory over 2000 silver medalist Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov of Kazakhstan). He triumphed, though, and was given the chance to represent Nigeria at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Paolo Vidoz of Italy defeated Peter in the quarterfinals by decision. The eventual gold medalist, Audley Harrison, against whom Peter had lost a very tight decision just a few months prior to the Olympics, received less attention due to his performance, which was praised for being highly impressive for such a young pugilist.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 24: Vladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine is knocked down by Samuel Peter of Nigeria during their IBF/WBO Heavyweight fight at the Boardwalk Hall on September 24, 2005 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Ivaylo Gotzev joined the team as Peter’s manager after the Olympics, and Andy “Pops” Anderson took over as his coach. Later, they were successful in securing a promotional agreement with Dino Duva of Duva Boxing.

On February 6, 2001, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Peter faced off against Bulgarian boxer Georgi Hristov in his professional debut. By way of a first-round knockout, Peter prevailed. He engaged in seven fights in 2001, winning all but one of them. The following year, Peter faced tougher opposition because Marion Wilson was his opponent in his opening match of the year. Four rounds were allotted for the fight. Wilson, who possessed an 11-37-3 record, was renowned for his tenacity and toughness. He never lost inside the distance and occasionally pulled off surprises, as seen by victories over Corey Sanders and Paea Wolfgramm or a split draw with Ray Mercer, among other feats. By a score of unanimous decisions, Peter prevailed.

Three months later, on June 21, 2003, Peter made his comeback, taking on Lyle McDowell (27-9-1, 18 KOs) as part of a bill that featured Lennox Lewis vs. Vitali Klitschko as the main event. McDowell was defeated by Peter in the fourth round. Peter concluded the year with two second-round knockouts, bringing his total to 16 victories in 16 matches, 15 of which were decided inside the round. He agreed to face Lawrence Clay-Bey (18-2, 13 KOs) in a December fight that would have been broadcast on ESPN, but Clay-Bey withdrew due to an injury. Dino Duva claimed that Clay-Bey faked an injury to get out of a fight with Samuel Peter.

Peter vs. Wladimir Klitschko II and release from Top Rank

For the IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight belts, Peter fought Wladimir Klitschko once again on September 11, 2010, at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. Peter was two pounds lighter than before the first battle at 241 pounds. Klitschko entered the fight at a career-high 247 pounds. In the build-up to the battle, both boxers made promises of knockouts. Peter got the battle began with a really aggressive bob and weave that he had never used before. In the first round, he successfully caught Klitschko with a strong left hook, but Klitschko didn’t seem to be phased.

The fight was successfully concluded by Klitschko. Three powerful right punches from Klitschko in the second round—one of which appeared to shock Peter—caught him. The third round of their intense bout saw a lot of clinching as both boxers struggled to connect blows. Referee Robert Byrd did not permit Peter to punch on the break or hit to the back of the head like he did in their first fight. The fight grew one-sided after four rounds, and Peter’s right eye started to close.

Peter’s legs have drastically slowed down and he was taking heavy shots when he was unable to find the target. With a strong right hand in round six, he did prevail. Instead of regressing as he did in their first bout, Klitschko would meet Peter in the center of the ring and physically overpower him in the clinches. Peter was being severely punished and was completely worn out after eight rounds. Abel Sanchez, Peter’s cornerman, threatened to end the fight after the ninth round but decided to allow him one more. Klitschko was pleaded with by Emanuel Steward to throw combos.

In the tenth round, Peter swung erratically, and Klitschko pounced with a powerful combination that knocked him to the ground. Klitschko was given the victory by knockout after referee Robert Byrd waived the fight off without beginning a count. Klitschko successfully defended his title for the eighth time.

The manner of Klitschko’s victory in the rematch may have signaled the end of Peter’s career as a professional fighter. He was promptly released from his contract by Top Rank. Peter’s manager stated that despite this, they will still try to land other marquee matches in the division against opponents other than the Klitschko brothers.

WBC heavyweight champion

He was required to contend for the WBC title held by interim champion Oleg Maskaev, who had been sidelined since December 2006 due to injury. The main bullring in Cancn, Mexico, hosted this eagerly anticipated bout on March 8, 2008. With just a few seconds left in the sixth round, the referee stopped the bout, giving Peter a technical knockout victory. In comparison to his previous two fights with Maskaev, Peter employed far less movement. Instead, both fighters traded powerful blows from the first round on. In the third round, Maskaev was knocked down by Peter, who then rocked him back. Maskaev was unable to seriously harm Peter.

In the sixth round, Peter pursued Maskaev with his jab before finally connecting with a powerful right hand. Maskaev stumbled backward, and Peter stepped in to finish the job. While Oleg attempted to make a gesture to the referee regarding rabbit punches, Peter proceeded to beat Maskaev against the ropes. With a few seconds left, when Maskaev stumbled into the corner, the referee intervened. At the moment of the pause, Peter had a lead across the board for all three judges.

Fight cancellations

Peter had lined up to fight multiple opponents during his four-year spell of almost complete inactivity, but every fight was postponed. He was supposed to participate in the Super 8 boxing competition, but he withdrew due to an injury. The following fight was against previous championship contender Alex Leapai, but once more he withdrew as it got closer. After that, he agreed to take on Alexander Ustinov but again backed out with just a few days left. Prior to being replaced, Peter came close to deciding to take on Luis Ortiz.

Career from 2016–present

After a two-year hiatus, Peter made his ring debut at the age of 36 on October 23 in Mexico, defeating Juan Carlos Salas (6-9) in three rounds. Peter clocked in at 262 pounds. If Peter would return to boxing full-time was still up in the air.

Early rumors suggested that Peter might face former world championship contender Kubrat Pulev in December in Sofia, Bulgaria, on November 1. IBF number two-ranked Pulev recently defeated Derek Chisora by decision in May. Five days later, Team Sauerland announced the bout between Peter and Pulev, which would take place on December 3 in Bulgaria.

Before his planned European title defense against Polish boxer Mariusz Wach, Pulev would use this bout to keep himself active. On November 22, Pulev gave up his European championship. Pulev won the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title by fourth round corner retirement (RTD) over Peter in front of 15,000 spectators at the Arena Armeec. Peter was combative the entire round but had trouble with Pulev’s jab. When Peter threw a huge blow in the third round and dislocated his right shoulder, the fight was declared over. After retiring due to injury, he returned to the corner leaning to the right.

On February 22, 2019, Peter, who had not engaged in combat for two years, made his second trip to Mexico. In just 44 seconds after the battle began inside the Cheers Bar & Grill in Tijuana, he defeated Gerardo Escobar. On March 26, Peter signed a promotional contract with Salita Promotions. On April 13, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, on the undercard of Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer, Peter will face Mexican journeyman Mario Heredia (15-6-1, 13 KOs).

Heredia had a record of 2-5-1 in his previous eight fights going into this one. Heredia defeated Peter by eight-round split decision at the Adrian Phillips Theater. Heredia fought on and won by scores of 77-74 and 76-75, with the third judge awarding Peter the victory by a margin of 79-72 despite Peter’s knockdown in the third round.

Outside the ring

Peter is a devoted Christian who doesn’t use drugs or alcohol. He resides in Nevada’s Las Vegas.

He shares a stable with former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich and is managed by Ivailo Gotsev. Peter used to be promoted by both Don King and Duva Boxing. Andy “Pops” Anderson was his initial trainer, but he later began working with former champion Cornelius Boza-Edwards. Manny Masson, a technical expert and strategist, helped him prepare for his two decisive victories over Jameel McCline and James Toney. Ibn Cason is presently training Peter.

He had a court case against Don King after a disagreement in the purse offer for his title loss to Vitali Klitschko after parting ways with Duva Boxing.

In 2009, he challenged American Champion Chris Arreola to a fight. Arreola was accused of stealing his “nightmare” moniker. If the fight went on, Peter stated that the loser would have to alter his name.

Peter is the nephew of Great Power Uti, a Nigerian professional wrestler.

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