Lamont Peterson has been patiently waiting for more than 15 months to jump back into a boxing ring. Well, his wait is almost over, and his patience is paying off.
Returning to action for the first time since October 2015, former two-time 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson (34-3-1, 17 KOs) will challenge 147-pound champion David Avanesyan (22-1-1, 11 KOs) on February 18 at Cintas Center in Cincinnati.
The bout, which was formally announced today, will serve as the co-main event to the Adrien Broner-Adrian Granados showdown (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“I’m extremely excited about getting back in the ring and fighting on Showtime again,” said Peterson, a 33-year-old nearly lifelong resident of Washington, D.C. “I’ve been working hard in the gym, and I’m ready to give my fans the kind of show they deserve.
“I know [Avanesyan] is coming in with a lot of confidence from that belt, but I believe I’m the better fighter and I’ll prove it on February 18.”
Peterson has been idle since eking out a majority decision over 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic on October 17, 2015. That victory followed Peterson’s majority decision loss to still-unbeaten world champion Danny Garcia.
Going back to mid-2011, Peterson has won six of eight fights, including victories over former world champions Amir Khan and Kendall Holt. His only career losses are to current or former world champions: Garcia, Lucas Matthysse (third-round TKO, May 2013) and Timothy Bradley (unanimous decision, December 2009).
Avanesyan became an interim 147-pound world champion in November 2015, when he defeated Charlie Navarro by ninth-round TKO. He defended that crown in May when he won a unanimous decision against five-time world champ Shane Mosley.
A 29-year-old Russian, Avanesyan’s only career defeat occurred in his second fight, a six-round points loss to future 130-pound title challenger Andrey Klimov.
“It is a great pleasure for me to be defending my world title in the U.S. against a very good opponent in Lamont Peterson,” Avanesyan said. “I am the champion, and come February 18, I will remain champion.
“This fight gives me a great opportunity to let the U.S. know what I’m about and put me in a position to fight the top fighters in the division. This will be a difficult defense, but I am ready to show everyone how good I am.”
Also part of the February 18 undercard is an intriguing 10-round, 175-pound matchup between undefeated knockout artist Marcus Browne (18-0, 13 KOs) and former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr. (20-2, 14 KOs).
Browne has been idle since April, when he won an eight-round split decision over fellow unbeaten Radivoje Kalajdzic. The 26-year-old southpaw from Staten Island, New York, dropped Kalajdzic in the first round before getting knocked down himself in Round 6.
Prior to facing Kalajdzic, Browne had stopped six of seven opponents, including four first-round wipeouts.
In Williams, Browne will be facing a fellow southpaw and his most experienced foe to date. Williams, 29-year-old native of Fort Washington, Maryland, is coming off a fourth-round knockout loss to 175-pound world champion Adonis Stevenson in July. Three months prior to that in a title eliminator, Williams scored a vicious second-round knockout of ex-title challenger Edwin Rodriguez.
Both Browne and Williams said they asked for this fight, and they’re eager to get in the ring and trade leather.
“I’m ready to go to work and fight,” Browne said. “It doesn’t matter if I am the underdog; so be it. Let me be the underdog. I just want to beat this guy up. This is who I wanted to fight. I am fired up about this one, and I can’t wait until February 18.”
Said Williams: “On February 18, I’m not leaving anything up to the judges. I think Marcus has gotten some gifts in the past, so I’m not leaving this up to anyone but myself.
“I wanted to stay in the mix. I don’t need a tuneup. I’ve been fighting since I was 5 years old. I just need to get in there and fight. I think this is going to be a really good battle.”
For full coverage of Avanesyan vs Peterson, check out our fight page.