Having taken a week to evaluate the overall picture, promoter Dino Duva says he is encouraged by much of what he saw on September 24, while watching his fighter Samuel Peter suffer his first loss. Peter, now 24-1 (21 KOs), dropped a close unanimous decision (114-111 X 3) to former WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko, but scored three knockdown and at times, seemed on the verge of a stoppage victory.
“While certainly he showed there are skills he must build on, in my opinion, he came out of this fight proving he is the future of the division,” said the confident Duva. “With a little more refinement, he’s going to go all the way. Klitschko got the "W" and I don't want to disrespect him, but if it is possible to come out of a loss with a lot of positives, Samuel did it with this fight.”
In evaluating the encouraging aspects of the fight, Duva points to a list of questions about Peter that were answered in impressive fashion. “Samuel showed he has tremendous heart; he never quit coming against a guy who could be the second-hardest puncher in the division. And in so doing, he put his world-class chin on display. Plus, Samuel stayed strong throughout; he even dropped Klitschko in the tenth, so his stamina was also proven.
Overall, when you look at the fact that he’s only 25 years old, with lots of time to make adjustments, you have to come away thinking he is definitely the future of the heavyweight division. That was no joke he hung tough with,” reminds Duva, “that was the former heir apparent to the crown. And Samuel had him holding on and running for much of the fight. In fact, if the referee (Randy Neumann) had rightly warned and then taken points away from Klitschko for holding, it may have changed the entire style of the fight and very possibly ended in a KO for Sam.”
Peter’s manager Ivaylo Gotzev agrees. “It’s obvious now that heavyweight boxing needs Sam Peter. He is the excitement in the division. And the James Toney and Chris Byrd bouts on the weekend only further proved my point. Those guys put everybody to sleep.
It’s always exciting when Samuel fights. We got the short end of the stick this time, but look at the two fighter’s performances. Who would you want to see again? There was one fighter wanting to fight and another one that was holding on for dear life to get the decision. You tell me who you would pay to see again.”
Duva says the next step for Team Peter will be two-fold. “We have to make slight adjustments in his training, boxing skills and corner strategy; I think that’s clear. But I also think it’s important we put him back in action as soon as possible, to keep people excited about this young puncher with such a tremendous upside. "The TV Executives and fans around the world now have what they want and need – a crowd-pleasing heavyweight star of the future. He may have lost the battle, but he showed the world where he’s at in terms of progress and I’m completely convinced that by the end of 2006, he will be World Heavyweight Champion.”