By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
MGM National Harbor arena is now a timeshare for the D.M.V.’s first families of world championship boxing. The venue, which has already hosted two championship cards featuring Team Gary Russell, now gives way to Lamont and Anthony Peterson who will take center stage for a nationally televised card on March 26.
Lamont faces former 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets in the main event, while Anthony faces another former champion Argenis Méndez in the co-main event on the TV portion of the card. This is the first time the Peterson family affair has been the main attraction before a partisan home audience as they look to get back into the mix of contenders on the world stage.
“March 24 is going to be big and it means a lot because a win for Lamont would put him right back in the thick of the running with the top of the 147-pounders,” said Barry Hunter, trainer of the Peterson Brothers during their pre-fight media workout at historic Head Bangers Boxing Gym in D.C.
“For Anthony, this is a long time coming. Myself, like so many others, thought he deserved a shot a long time ago. Nevertheless, your time is your time. So, he’s going to go out there and take care of business on the 24th and that should put him in line for a world title fight,” Hunter said.
The Petersons haven’t fought on the same card since January 2018 when Anthony won a 10-round unanimous decision over Luis Antonio Florez at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. That same night Lamont lost on a seventh round TKO to IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr. and he hasn’t fought since. Spence Jr. was in control of the fight, though it has been wide speculated that he wasn’t totally healthy which may have affected his performance. Since then Spence has enjoyed a meteoric rise amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world while Lamont has given his body a chance to heal from injuries.
“I’ve been boxing for 25 years, doing it professionally for 15 years, pretty much straight through. Only injuries have held me back,” Lamont said. “I just wanted to take some time to relax, and if my body was able to recover and come back close to what I was or better, then I was going to go on.
During his 14-month sabbatical from the ring Anthony remained focused on staying in shape and preparing by training in solitude close to home. The reclusive homebody maintained an intense physical regimen and solicited the help of WBC Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter during training camp to sharpen him for this moment that could propel him to a title fight.
“Shawn brought a different type of energy,” Anthony said. “He’s a real good guy, very spiritual and positive. He’s always in a good mood and showed a good example of how a champion is supposed to handle himself.”
The Peterson brothers have navigated through life’s challenges, such as extended homelessness, in order to become contenders in their sport and role models in their community. These fights are more than just an opportunity for their fans to watch them in person. It is a chance for the family to share a shining moment that was a long time coming.
“It will be a good feeling to be fighting back at home,” Lamont said. “For the first time ever, I’ll be fighting on a card, my brother is fighting on the card and my nephew is fighting on the card. I knew this day would probably happen, but I’m happy that it’s this time around.”
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