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Samuel Peter... A Promoter's Dream, An Opponent's Nightmare
By Stephen Jones (June 20, 2004) 
Samuel Peter
Three years in boxing doesn't sound like a long time but for the newest Nigerian heavyweight on the scene, Samuel Peter, it has been a virtual baptism of fire into today's heavyweight front-line.

I first came across Samuel when I traveled to Reno in July 2001 for a Heavyweight Explosion card at the Hilton. Samuel, described on the poster as a Nigerian heavyweight sensation, was due to appear as a feature underneath several more renowned heavyweight prospects, Dominick Guinn, Andre Purlette and DaVarryll Williamson. I was a little disappointed to find later that for unknown reasons Samuel couldn't appear on the show, at the time his record was 3-0, 3 KO's .

I returned to Las Vegas a day later to find Samuel training with Kenny Adams at Johnny Tocco's ringside gym alongside Ruslin Chagaev, a Russian heavyweight who like Samuel had only a handful of fights but had a good grounding as an amateur. I had seen both in action as amateurs, especially Samuel who had represented Nigeria in the Sydney Olympics a year earlier losing in the quarter final stages to eventual Bronze medalist Paolo Vidoz of Italy.

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Samuel was raw in the games but showed bags of tenacity. His style looked far more apt for the professional game, although he never came away a medalist he had previously demolished silver placed Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov and taken eventual Gold medal winner Audley Harrison to a close decision.

Kenny Adams gave instructions to Samuel in the Gym and he did exactly as he was told, no questions asked and he always had a smile on his face, as Kenny described, "a dream of a fighter to work with" yet inside the ropes he was terrific to watch. He would stalk Chagaev like a tiger and throw two and three punches at a time that would slice through the air, far faster than that of any other novice heavyweight I had seen with his dimensions.

Later that week I went along with Kenny to Top Rank gym to watch how Sammy would fare up in sparring with Russian WBO heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko who was in Vegas to defend against local heavyweight Charles Shufford. Despite being outweighed by 15 lbs. (230 - 245) and giving away almost 6 inches in height, he gave a spirited show not once losing his composure or allowing his far more experienced spar mate to take the upper hand.

Sam would continue to slip almost Tysonesque from side to side to elusively throw awkward shots from very obscure angles, something Klitschko didn't like because it never once made him comfortable enough to open up. Out of all the sparring that week Peter was the man that had gained most respect. Since then he has worked with former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman and briefly with Lennox Lewis, not bad for a virtual baby to the pro game.

Samuel Okon Peter was born in Akwaibom, Nigeria 23 years ago and turned to boxing because he loved the physical nature of the game. He loved to fight and become physical and make people respect him and to make people bleed as he puts it. Although his mother didn't always support his decision to fight, she soon came around when she saw how good he was at his chosen sport.

He moved out to Las Vegas where he is now based. Three years ago he trained under the watchful eye of Coach Adams, now under the tutelage of the legendary Lou Duva, veteran trainer of
numerous heavyweight champions and promising prospects.

Since 2001 Samuel has amassed a respectable record of 19-0, 17 KO's and has seen only two men last the trip against him. He was devoted to his mother who passed away shortly before his recent and most impressive win to date over Charles Shufford. Sammy found the character within him to put his emotions aside; like a true pro he dominated the bout by out boxing the very capable boxer Shufford.

Samuel is currently managed by Ivalyo Gotzev who you may know for his association with former Cruiserweight champion Vassily Jirov. Gotzev is very happy with the way Samuel's career is going, he has everything many more seasoned heavyweights have, yet he has far more explosive power.

Samuel is more solid now and I say that given the right time to continue to develop his skills, considering the way the current state of play at heavyweight is, there is no reason why this well advanced prospect can't go right to the top. Samuel Peter is a dream of a fighter for any promoter, with his all action power packed style and charisma, yet for anyone who has the misfortune to meet him in combat he is exactly what his nickname suggests, a Nigerian Nightmare
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