The ruling meant that the organization’s vacant 140-pound belt was to be on the line when Khan challenges WBC titleholder Danny Garcia in Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, the WBA went a step farther, declaring on its website that it has reinstated Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) heading into the matchup against Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) and named Peterson its “champion in recess.”
“The World Championships Committee of the World Boxing Association officially announced today its decision to reinstate the British boxer Amir Khan as Super Champion who may be able to unify title with Danny Garcia on Saturday July 14,” read the WBA’s statement, in part. “This decision was taken after the positive doping result of the American Lamont Peterson, confirmed by the medical experts.”
In addition, THE RING belt will be on the line, in accordance with a recent move made by the magazine’s Editorial Board.
“Justice has been done. I’m glad the WBA are reinstating me as champion,” said Khan to the Sky Sports website (www1.skysports.com).
“It means I walk into this fight as world champion. There is a chance to win the WBC belt as well. But not only that, THE RING Magazine title will be on the line as well.”
Khan, who lost a split decision and his WBA and IBF titles to Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) last December, had a scheduled May 19 rematch with Peterson, of Washington, D.C., cancelled after Peterson tested positive for the banned substance testosterone.
“The WBA rules that states that no boxer has tested positively for prohibited substances can be rated, retain a title, or be permitted to fight in a sanctioned bout for a period of no less than six months from the date of the positive test has been enforced,” read the WBA’s ruling. “Given the circumstances, Peterson’s status is champion in recess and it is subject to revision.”
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, on behalf of Khan, sent letters to the WBA and IBF requesting that the sanctioning organizations “rule the fight a no-contest,” and, asked “the IBF and the WBA to re-instate Amir Khan as their champion.”
Peterson-Khan still is to be examined by the IBF. On Monday, Peterson’s representatives sent the fighters’ medical records for review to the IBF, which will determine whether Peterson should retain the belt or be stripped, IBF President Daryl Peoples informed RingTV.com.
Peoples said that the information was submitted by lawyers Adisa Bakari and Michael Hepburn of Dow Lohnes Sports and Entertainment, based in Washington, D.C.
In the meantime, Peterson’s legal counsel has asked for a postponement to August of its originally scheduled July 9 meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, according to Keith Kizer, executive director of the commission.
Kizer received the request from one of Peterson’s lawyers, Peter Bernard, who wrote in a letter to Kizer on June 27. Peterson can not be licensed until he appears before the commission.
Peterson admitted to using testosterone in November prior to facing Khan, claiming it was for medical reasons. Peterson had a “testosterone pellet” surgically implanted into his hip by Las Vegas-based Dr. John Thompson on Nov. 12 of last year after he was diagnosed with an abnormally testosterone level.
Peterson and Khan contractually agreed to have their blood and urine randomly tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), whose president and founder is Margaret Goodman.
Goodman informed Kizer that Peterson’s “urine specimen … was collected on March 19” and that its test results were “consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone.”
In an interview with RingTV.com, Peterson said that he passed the pre-fight urine test conducted by the Washington D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Athletic Commission before facing Khan. D.C. commission director, Scottie Irving, has maintained that he has no official comment.
Garcia earned the WBC 140-pound title by outpointing Erik Morales in March.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com