Peter (on the left) in October 2007
|Real name||Samuel Okon Peter|
|Nickname(s)||"The Nigerian Nightmare"|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Reach||77 in (196 cm)|
September 6, 1980 |
Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
|Wins by KO||27|
Samuel Okon Peter (born September 6, 1980 in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria), nicknamed "The Nigerian Nightmare," is a professional heavyweight boxer and the former WBC heavyweight champion (he lost that title in his first defence, against Vitali Klitschko.)
Peter rose to prominence as a professional fighter following a string of spectacular knockout wins in his early career, at a time when the division was fragmented. He has won a portion of the heavyweight crown and scored notable wins over: James Toney and Oleg Maskaev. Samuel Peter is also the only man to have been defeated by both Klitschko brothers (losing a total of three bouts against them).
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. 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 30-2 (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 regional NABF heavyweight title. Williams was out cold for several minutes following the knockout. He then defeated Yanqui Diaz on January 22, 2005 to win the vacant regional USBA heavyweight title, knocking him down five times along the way.
Peter vs. Wladimir Klitschko
On September 24, 2005 Peter faced Wladimir Klitschko in an elimination match in Atlantic City for the IBF title, in which Peter's NABF title was also on the line. It was a highly anticipated fight, Klitschko was trying to bounce back into the title picture and Peter was at the time undefeated and a feared puncher. It was a highly entertaining bout. Klitschko controlled for periods with his excellent jab and physical domination, yet Peter managed to periodically break through with big shots. Klitschko went down twice in the fifth. He came back to assert himself for the next few rounds as Peter grew frustrated at his inability to land clean shots. In round 10 Peter finally broke through with two big right hands, Klitschko staggered backwards and Peter put him down for the third time with another right hand. Larry Merchant remarked: "This is the moment of truth for Klitschko." Klitschko recovered well and went on to outbox Peter for the final two rounds. Many observers felt that Peter was hitting to the back of the head (rabbit punching) during this fight and that accounted for the first two knock downs. Nevertheless, Klitschko went on to stagger Peter badly in the twelfth winning a unanimous decision.
On December 15, 2005, Peter faced Robert Hawkins and won a 10 round decision.
Peter regained the NABF title (vacated by Klitschko after his victory) on April 28, 2006, by defeating Julius Long.
On September 11, 2010, Peter once again faced Wladimir Klitschko and once again lost, this time by 10th round TKO.
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.)
For this important fight against James Toney, Manny Masson was brought in to train Sam Peter due to Manny's technical training ability and complete understanding of James Toney's fighting style which consists mainly of the shoulder roll. These abilities such as the shoulder roll and the pull-counter are considered lost arts in the boxing world.
On January 6, 2007, Peter defeated Toney in the rematch by unanimous decision, erasing any doubts as to the validity of the first fight. Considered one of his most polished boxing performances, Peter beat Toney to the punch consistently throughout the twelve rounds. He used his triple jab to great effect and threw varying sets of combinations to the head and body consistently than ever before in his career. This complete transformation of Peter's Boxing ability is solely attributed to Manny Masson's technical training ability and complete understanding of James Toney's Boxing style. Peter hooked off the jab to put Toney down in round two. He also danced around playfully in the final moments of the twelfth knowing he had completely dominated his opponent both mentally and physically throughout the twelve round contest. The official judges scorecards read 119-108, 118-110, 118-110.
Peter vs. McCline
After defeating Toney, Peter had earned the right to challenge the WBC 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 their Interim heayweight champion.
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. Sam Peter almost pulled out of the McCline due to a hand injury he had sustained due to inadequate hand-wrapping during his training camp in the Poconos but the situation was resolved when Manny Masson took complete control of Peter's hand-wrapping.
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. Though he seemed badly hurt in the third round, 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 title. As in the second Toney fight the key to Peter's victory was the use of his triple jab, footwork, head movement, and combination punching which is also attributable to his trainer Manny Masson. He kept Mccline off with the jab and then bullied him backwards in the final minute of each round to score points. Mccline was perhaps tired from throwing so many power punches early on. Nevertheless Peter outworked him thoroughly for the better part of nine rounds.
Becoming WBC heavyweight champion
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. Peter used far less movement than he had in his previous two bouts against Maskaev, from the first round onwards both were trading heavy shots. In round three Peter staggered Maskaev and was then rocked in return. After five rounds Maskaev was looking disheartened. He had not been able to really hurt Peter. Peter used his jab to pursue Maskaev in the sixth and eventually broke through with a big right hand. Maskaev staggered backwards and Peter moved in for the finish. Peter continued to pummel Maskaev on the ropes while Oleg tried to motion to the referee about rabbit punches. The referee stepped in with seconds remaining as a ragged and badly beaten Maskaev staggered backwards into the corner. Peter was ahead on all three judges' scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Peter vs. Vitali Klitschko
Following his victory over Maskaev, Peter publicly challenged IBF, WBO and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko to a unification bout, which would have been Klitschko's second such fight, as well as his second matchup with Peter (the first ending with a unanimous decision victory for Klitschko). Such a fight would have unified 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. Vitali Klitschko had retired as WBC champion in November 2005, and was 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. At the time of his retirement, Vitali was the dominant force in his division. He was considered the undisputed heavyweight champion. The bout with Peter was an exciting prospect for fans. Both had a claim to being the rightful WBC belt holder. Yet there was added importance for the bout: if Vitali were to win it would mean that both brothers would achieve their dream of being heavyweight champions at the same time. On the other hand, if Peter were to win and then challenge Wladimir in a rematch, it would bring the heavyweight division close to the first unified title holder in years. Peter accepted the WBC's ruling and the bout was scheduled for October 11 at O2 world Berlin where Klitschko would receive a tremendous reception.
Peter fought Klitschko on October 11, 2008 in Berlin. Klitschko had a memorable ring entrance with five former heavyweight champions appearing to wish him luck in his comeback. Klitschko would reclaim his belt in dominating fashion. Although he was coming back from a four year layoff, Klitschko was exceptionally sharp from the opening bell. Peter had been expected to set the pace and pursue Vitali, instead he spent time outside trying to box his way in. Klitschko's punch numbers were excellent and he had Peter in trouble from the first round onwards. Peter who had weighed in at 253 seemed rather sluggish. Klitschko took the center of the ring and found Peter an easy target. Peter landed two hard right hands in the second round, but they had almost no effect on Vitali at all. After four rounds Peter's face was swelling and his corner was growing in frustration. His corner implored him to let his hands go and push Vitali back. Peter tried to rally in the sixth round, but only made himself an even more open target for Klitschko's counter punches. The seventh round was extremely punishing for the defending champion as he ate several; left hooks, right crosses and jabs. Peter seemed unresponsive to his corner's advice after a few rounds, totally shocked at the speed and accuracy of his opponent. Klitschko continued with a near punch perfect display. Looking disheartened Peter slumped in his corner after the 8th round. As his corner tried to give him instructions the scores of the fight were read out by the ring announcer. Two judges had Klitschko ahead by 80-72, and one by 79-73. Peter listened to the scores shook his head and said "stop it." There was some confusion in the Peter corner over what was happening, but although he had not been down or seriously hurt Peter was adamant "stop the fight." He had been dominated the entire fight by Klitschko's efficient outside punching. By retiring on his stool Peter became one of the only heavyweight champions in history to quit against his corner's advice while defending the championship.
After Klitschko: defeat to Chambers and return to form
Following such a devastating and one sided loss in a title fight, many questioned whether Peter would have the mental strength to return to top form. Peter was defeated by Eddie Chambers by majority decision on March 27, 2009. In what was perhaps his worst in ring performance, Peter weighed in at a career high of 265 lbs and threw very few punches. He seldom threw more than one or two punches in succession. Chambers stayed outside and frustrated Peter with lateral movement. After a few rounds Peter was pushing his punches and looking exhausted. Chambers did enough to frustrate Peter and consistently outworked him.
He fought Marcus McGee on July 25, 2009 in Mexico and defeated him via a third round knockout after knocking him cold with a right hand. He weighed in at a much more respectable 243 for this fight.
His next fight was on September 15, 2009 against the little known Ronald Bellamy. Peter won by second round knockout. He then fought journeyman Gabe Brown and won by fourth round stoppage.
Following his three successful victories over journeyman, Peter took a step up in competition against Nagy Aguilera. Having signed with Top Rank following his loss to Chambers, Peter had been focusing on conditioning. His sluggish and lethargic performances against both Vitali Klitschko and Eddie Chambers were in many critic's eyes caused by Peter's decision to move from a weight range of 230-245 up to a weight range of 250 plus. The bout with Aguilera was an IBF eliminator (Aguilera had earned the position with a stunning first round knockout of former champion Oleg Maskaev). Peter came in at 237 pounds the lightest since his seventh pro fight. He dominated an entertaining first round before sending Aguilera down in the second with a right hand counter, Nagy beat the count but was stopped soon after as he lay against the ropes taking heavy shots. Many critics have regarded Peter's win over Aguilera as reminiscent of his earlier knockout days.
Peter then targeted either a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko or a final IBF eliminator with unbeaten Alexander Povetkin. Sensing that Povetkin was not willing to fight Klitschko, Peter made himself available as a replacement opponent. Both he and Povetkin were ranked as #1 IBF contenders.
Peter vs. Wladimir Klitschko II and release from Top Rank
On September 11, 2010, Peter fought Wladimir Klitschko again at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was a Heavyweight Championship Match for the IBF, IBO and WBO Heavyweight Title. Peter weighed in at 241 pounds, two pounds lighter than the first fight. Wladimir came in at a career heavy of 247 pounds. Both fighters had promised knockouts in the pre fight build up. Peter started the fight very aggressively in a bob and weave style he had never before fought in. He caught Wladimir with a good left hook in the opening round, though Klitschko remained unshaken. Klitschko ended the round well. In the second round Klitschko caught Peter with three hard right hands, one of which seemed to stun him. Both fighters struggled to land punches in the third round, there was a lot of clinching in what was a physical encounter. Unlike their first fight referee Robert Byrd did not let Peter punch on the break or hit to the back of the head. After four rounds the fight became one sided, with Peter's right eye closing. Peter could not find the target and started lunging with wild shots, his legs had slowed dramatically and he was taking heavy shots. He did get through with a big right hand in round 6 though. Klitschko, instead of going backwards as he did in their first fight, would meet Peter in the middle of the ring and dominate him physically in the clinches. Peter was taking heavy punishment and after 8 rounds was totally exhausted. After the ninth round Peter's cornerman Abel Sanchez threatened to stop the fight, and said he would give him one more round. Emmanuel Steward implored Klitschko to throw combinations. Peter swung wildly in the tenth and Wladimir opened up with a punishing combination which floored him. Referee Robert Byrd did not start a count and waved the fight off, awarding Klitschko the win by knockout. It was Klitschko's ninth successful title defense. The nature of the defeat to Klitschko in the rematch possibly spelled the end of Peter's career as a top level fighter. Top Rank released him from his contract soon after. In spite of this Peter's manager says they will look to secure other big fights in the division against anyone other than the Klitschko brothers.
Peter vs. Robert Helenius
After his release from Top Rank Peter and his management sent an offer to Tomasz Adamek for an IBF elimination match. The fight fell through when Peter refused Adamek's challenger money of $150,000. Peter then went into negotiations for a fight with Tye Fields which also failed to materialise. Then in March 2011 it was revealed that Peter would travel to Germany to face undefeated Finnish prospect Robert Helenius. Peter was rumoured to be in training with Jeff Mayweather, however Mayweather was not present for Peter's fight against Helenius. Peter weighed in for the contest at his highest career weight of 270 pounds. Peter was without a reputed trainer or even a cutman for the fight. Peter had reasonable success in the first half of the bout winning several of the first 6 rounds; however, after that point Peter began to tire. The end came when Helenius knocked down an exhausted Peter in round 9, Peter got to his feet only to be sent back to the canvas where he remained for well over the 10 second count, awarding Helenius the win by KO. The nature of the loss to Helenius, as well as Peter's terrible physical condition have led many to call for Peter's retirement from boxing.
Outside the ring
Peter, who is managed by Ivalio Gotsev, is a stablemate to former WBO Heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich. Peter was formerly promoted by both Duva Boxing and Don King. Originally trained by Andy "Pops" Anderson, he has since gone on to work with former champion Cornelius Boza Edwards and former Tyson trainer Stacey Mckinnley. He also worked with technical specialist and strategist Manny Masson who exclusively trained Sam Peter for his two decisive victories against James "Lights Out" Toney and Jameel "Big Time" McCline, and Manny Masson was responsible for transforming Samuel Peter's boxing skills for his fights against James Toney and Jameel McCline, making Peter into a complete fighter. Peter is currently promoted by Bob Arum and trained by Abel Sanchez.
Following his split with Duva boxing, Peter had a court case against Don King over a dispute in the purse bid for his title loss to Vitali Klitschko.
Peter recently challenged American Champion Chris Arreola to a bout this year. Claiming that Arreola stole his "nightmare" nickname. Peter said that if the fight went through then the loser would have to change his moniker.
Professional boxing record
|34 Wins (27 knockouts, 7 decisions), 5 Losses (3 knockouts, 2 decisions), 0 Draws |
|Loss||34–5||Robert Helenius||KO||9 (12)||02/04/2011||Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany||For WBO & WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight titles.|
|Loss||34–4||Wladimir Klitschko||KO||10 (12)||11/09/2010||Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany||For WBO, IBF, & IBO Heavyweight titles.|
|Win||34–3||Nagy Aguilera||TKO||2 (12)||12/03/2010||Gaylord Hotel, Grapevine, Texas, United States|
|Win||33–3||Gabe Brown||TKO||4 (8)||19/12/2009||Beeghly Center, Youngstown, Ohio, United States|
|Win||32–3||Ronald Bellamy||TKO||2 (8)||15/09/2009||Plaza de Toros, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
|Win||31–3||Marcus McGee||KO||3 (8)||25/07/2009||Palenque del Recinto Ferial, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico|
|Loss||30–3||Eddie Chambers||MD||10||27/03/2009||Nokia Theater, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Loss||30–2||Vitali Klitschko||RTD||8 (12)||11/10/2008||O2 World Arena, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany||Lost WBC heavyweight title.|
|Win||30–1||Oleg Maskaev||TKO||6 (12)||08/03/2008||Plaza de Toros, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico||Won WBC heavyweight title.|
|Win||29–1||Jameel McCline||UD||12||06/10/2007||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States||Won Interim WBC heavyweight title.|
|Win||28–1||James Toney||UD||12||06/01/2007||Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, United States||Retained NABF Heavyweight title.
WBC Heavyweight title eliminator.
|Win||27–1||James Toney||SD||12||02/09/2006||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, United States||Retained NABF heavyweight title.
WBC heavyweight title eliminator.
|Win||26–1||Julius Long||KO||1 (12)||28/04/2006||Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States||Won vacant NABF heavyweight title.|
|Win||25–1||Robert Hawkins||UD||10||15/12/2005||Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, United States||Won NABA Heavyweight title.|
|Loss||24–1||Wladimir Klitschko||UD||12||24/09/2005||Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Lost NABF Heavyweight title.
For vacant NABO Heavyweight title.
IBF & WBO heavyweight title eliminators.
|Win||24–0||Taurus Sykes||KO||2 (12)||02/07/2005||Events Center, Reno, Nevada, United States||Retained NABF & USBA heavyweight titles, & won NABA heavyweight title.|
|Win||23–0||Gilbert Martinez||TKO||3 (10)||29/04/2005||Union Plaza Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||22–0||Yanqui Diaz||TKO||5 (12)||22/01/2005||American Airlines Arena, Miami, Miami, Florida, United States||Won vacant USBA heavyweight title.|
|Win||21–0||Jeremy Williams||KO||2 (12)||04/12/2004||Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won vacant NABF heavyweight title.|
|Win||20–0||Jovo Pudar||UD||10||05/08/2004||Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, United States|
|Win||19–0||Charles Shufford||UD||10||17/05/2004||Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||18–0||Jose Arimatea Da Silva||TKO||2 (8)||06/03/2004||Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||17–0||Chris Isaac||TKO||7 (8)||22/01/2004||Glendale Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||16–0||Jason Farley||TKO||2 (10)||27/09/2003||HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York, United States|
|Win||15–0||Daniel Frank||KO||2 (8)||30/08/2003||Sam's Town Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, United States|
|Win||14–0||Lyle McDowell||TKO||4 (6)||21/06/2003||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||13–0||Dale Crowe||TKO||4 (10)||07/03/2003||City Center Pavilion, Reno, Nevada, United States||Won vacant WBC Youth heavyweight title.|
|Win||12–0||Cornelius Ellis||TKO||2 (4)||27/07/2002||Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–0||Francis Royal||TKO||2 (6)||07/06/2002||Rawhide Arena, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States|
|Win||10–0||Terry Porter||KO||2 (4)||24/05/2002||Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||9–0||Julius Joiner||TKO||1 (4)||22/03/2002||Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||8–0||Marion Wilson||UD||4||03/03/2002||Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||7–0||Curtis Taylor||KO||1 (4)||10/11/2001||Fernwood Resort, Bushkill, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||6–0||Giles Knox||TKO||1 (4)||28/09/2001||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||5–0||Freddy Gatica||TKO||1 (4)||25/08/2001||Flamingo Hilton, Laughlin, Nevada, United States|
|Win||4–0||Shannon Head||TKO||1 (4)||28/07/2001||Exhibition Hall, Fort Myers, Florida, United States|
|Win||3–0||George Chamberlain||TKO||1 (4)||25/05/2001||Estadio Carlos Dittborn, Arica, Chile|
|Win||2–0||James Lester||TKO||3 (4)||10/05/2001||Biltmore Resort, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||1–0||Georgi Hristov||KO||1 (4)||06/02/2001||Sports Palace, Phoenix, Almaty, Kazakhstan|
- Goffe, Leslie (23 September 2005). "People's champion". BBC Sport:Boxing. Retrieved January 4, 2010
- Official website
- Professional boxing record for Samuel Peter from BoxRec
- Samuel Peter Fight-by-Fight Career Record
- Professional boxing record for Samuel Peter from BoxRec
- Who Wants This: Sam Peter - The 'Nigerian Nightmare’
|WBC Heavyweight Champion
September 24, 2007 – March 8, 2008
|WBC Heavyweight Champion
March 8, 2008 – October 11, 2008