Lamont Peterson appeals WBA ruling
LONDON -- Lamont Peterson's camp submitted an appeal to the WBA asking it to overturn a decision to order a rematch against Amir Khan, the British fighter who lost his WBA and IBF belts in a disputed bout.
Khan's camp withdrew an appeal on Tuesday to the IBF over the split-decision loss, saying it was concerned he wouldn't receive a fair hearing. Peterson's management team said the move vindicated the American's victory.
Khan was challenging the outcome of the Dec. 10 bout, claiming he was unfairly docked two points for pushing Peterson and implying fight judges may have been influenced by a "mystery man" seen sitting next to them at ringside.
The protests led to the WBA granting a rematch, which Khan's backers, Golden Boy Promotions, announced would be staged within 180 days. That is now being challenged by Peterson.
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"A comprehensive written appeal has been submitted to the WBA and we are confident that the WBA will overturn its decision mandating an immediate rematch and recognize Lamont Peterson as the true and final WBA Jr. Welterweight World Champion," Peterson's camp said in a statement on Wednesday.
They were buoyed by Khan's team withdrawing its appeal ahead of an IBF hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday in New Jersey.
"Team Peterson feels this development serves as a form of vindication as it relates to the ruling of the IBF that Lamont is the IBF Junior Welterweight Champion of the World," Peterson's camp said. "Furthermore, this ruling essentially turns back the clock to Dec. 11th and provides a number of options for Lamont to explore as he continues his professional boxing career."
They insisted that, despite speculation, there are "no open negotiations" about a rematch in Washington.
Peterson reaffirmed that he wants to remain the united IBF and WBA champion.
"Now that this is over, I am ready to move on," Peterson said. "As I said before, as champion I plan on representing both sanctioning bodies to the best of ability and that means fighting the best fighters in the world in defending my titles."
Khan has been campaigning for weeks after claiming poor refereeing and interference with fight judges were behind his loss.
Khan arrived in New Jersey on Tuesday for the scheduled IBF appeal hearing, only for his camp to pull out and express concerns about only "partial representation of fight officials."
"We are not going to go somewhere where we feel we can't get a fair shake, that's the bottom line. I feel it is impossible to get a fair shake with the IBF," Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com. "What we are saying is enough is enough, let's get the rematch done. But to go to listen to some kangaroo court, what's the point?"
The IBF issued a statement in response to Golden Boy Promotion's criticisms, saying it was "unfortunate" that it had to defend its integrity "when every step to provide a fair and just hearing for both parties was taken and was given the utmost importance."
Khan wants a rematch so badly that Schaefer said Khan authorized him to offer Peterson a 50-50 deal. That's a surprising move since Khan would generate the bulk of the revenue, because of his exclusive contracts with HBO in the United States and Sky Sports in England.
Golden Boy previously offered Peterson at least $1 million for the rematch, but that was turned down. Peterson made a career-high $650,000 for the December fight, while Khan made well in excess of $1 million.
"We hope we can begin the negotiation with Team Peterson right away," Schaefer said. "We want these negotiations to be straightforward and respectful. In that regard, Amir really wants that rematch and would agree to split the worldwide revenue 50-50.
"It would be a much-anticipated rematch and HBO is obviously interested in airing that rematch. We want to make sure it is financially and professionally satisfying to Lamont to get this rematch done."
When they met in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C., last month in one of 2011's best and most controversial bouts, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) won a split decision against Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) to claim two 140-pound belts.
However, Khan had two points deducted for pushing -- an almost unheard-of foul call -- in the seventh and 12th rounds by Washington-area referee Joe Cooper. Without the deductions, Khan would have retained the belts via unanimous decision.
The unexplained presence at ringside of the "mystery man" -- later revealed as Mustafa Ameen, who does unpaid voluntary work for the IBF -- added to the "plethora of anomalies" that the Khan camp claimed marred the fight.
Video footage showed Ameen, who wasn't authorized to be at ringside, distracting judges and leaning across WBA supervisor Michael Welsh during the fight.
Ameen told the BBC on Wednesday that he was simply correcting mistakes made by Welsh on his scorecard.
"I noticed one error and a subsequent error. I assisted him in correcting it without touching anything," Ameen said.
Information from ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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