Peter wins WBC title, stops Maskaev
By Ken Hissner (March 11, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Bob Kolb)  
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Samuel Peter, 30-1 (23), finally got his opportunity to fight for the WBC heavyweight title Saturday night at the Plaza deToros, Cancun, Mexico, stopping Oleg Maskaev, 34-6 (26)m in 2:56 of the 6th round when referee Guadalupe Garcia halted the bout due to the number of punches being landed on the champion.

Peter has been chasing after Maskaev since his July 2007 elimination win over James Toney. In October of last year
Peter almost blew the opportunity having to come off the canvas against Jameel McCline at Madison Square Garden to win the Interim title. Maskaev had postponed the inevitable several times.

It was a cautious fight throughout with both fighters showing respect for each others power. The Las Vegas resident became the first Nigerian to ever win a heavyweight title when he came back from some power punches of Maskaev earlier in the 6th round to trap the champion against the ropes with a flurry of punches until the referee came to his rescue.

The 39 year old Maskaev born in Kazakhstan, now living in Sacramento, California, hadn’t fought since December of 2006 when he defeated Peter Okhello in a nominal defense. The younger, 27 year old Peter has a bright future ahead if he keeps his wits about him. Asked if he would fight either Klitschko, the new champion seemed to talk around it just saying “I feel great, and I could fight again tomorrow. I’m ready for anyone. The former champion Maskaev said, “I can’t blame anybody. It was my fault.”

The WBC will be trying to force Peter to fight the often injured former WBC champion Vitali Klitschko who has not fought since December of 2004. There is an elimination bout between the top two contenders in Vladimir Virchis, of the Ukraine, who is the European champion and former cruiserweight champion, the Cuban fighting out of Germany, Juan Carlos Gomez. This bout was cancelled earlier in the year when Gomez claimed he needed more time to prepare. No date has been re-scheduled. Klitschko had a bout with the #3 contender, former WBC/IBF champion, and now NABF champion, Hasim Rahman of Baltimore, Maryland. This would be a good comeback fight for Klitschko not only to get the rust out but to earn a spot in the ratings.

Wladimir Klitschko, the younger brother of Vitali, holds both the IBF and WBO titles. Klitschko will probably meet either one of his #1 contender’s, Tony Thompson, from Washington, DC, representing the WBO, or Alexander Povetkin, the Russian, fighting out of Germany, representing the IBF after winning an elimination tournament. Klitschko’s non crowd pleasing performance in winning the WBO title from Sultan Ibragimov in Madison Square Garden will probably force him to defend next in Germany where the people may not expect a knockout in a heavyweight title bout.

Peter’s win breaks up the hold the Europeans have had on all four organizations. Ruslan Chagaev, of Uzbekistan, fighting out of Germany will probably defend his WBA title in a rematch with former champion Nicolay Valuev who just defeated Serguei Liakhovich in an eliminator.

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