Even as he works to clear Lamont Peterson’s name, a camp representative denies that the fighter has been formally stripped of the WBA’s junior welterweight title he won from Amir Khan in December as a result of his failed drug test in March, claiming that Peterson’s status as the organization’s “champion in recess” allows room for him to contend for the crown.
“Some folks out there have reported that the WBA has stripped Lamont of his title, and that’s not true,” said Peterson’s publicist, Andre Johnson.
“Lamont is what they [WBA] have called a champion in recess…Lamont will have his opportunity to finalize his medical review and defend his title.”
Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts), who lost a split decision and his WBA and IBF titles to Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), had a scheduled May 19 rematch with Peterson, of Washington, D.C., cancelled after Peterson tested positive for the banned substance testosterone.
On July 12, four days prior to Khan’s HBO-televised fourth-round knockout loss to WBC titleholder Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night, the WBA declared that it was re-instating Khan as its beltholder and named Peterson its “champion in recess.”
Garcia, who earned the WBC 140-pound title by outpointing Erik Morales in March, also won THE RING belt against Khan, in accordance with a recent move made by the magazine’s Editorial Board.
“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. This decision was taken after the positive doping result of the American Lamont Peterson, confirmed by the medical experts,” read the WBA’s statement.
“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. Given the circumstances, Peterson’s status is champion in recess and it is subject to revision.”
Johnson contends that the “revision” is in the process of being tested by the fighter, who still is providing medical information to the WBA in order to contest his positive drug test.
“We’re going to rectify all of this,” said Johnson, “so that Lamont can get back to doing what he loves to do.”
Both the WBA and the IBF had been reviewing Khan’s status in response to letters sent by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer requesting that the sanctioning bodies “rule the fight a no-contest,” and, asked “re-instate Amir Khan as their champion.”
Peterson-Khan still is to be examined by the IBF, whose President, Daryl Peoples, informed RingTV.com last week that it has received Peterson’s medical records for review and determine whether Peterson should retain the belt or be stripped.
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.
“We’re also working on providing the IBF with additional medical information to move forward with the title defense there as well. We just want people to know where we stand,” said Johnson.
“We’re still in the process of conducting a thorough medical review. We hope to have the complete results in the next few days. This medical review has been going on for a couple of months now, and Lamont has seen about 12 or 13 different doctors.”
Peterson’s legal counsel has also asked for a postponement to August of its originally scheduled July 9 meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, whose executive director, Keith Kizer, received the request from one of Peterson’s lawyers, Peter Bernard, on June 27.
“The Nevada State Athletic Commission has allowed us time to conduct our medical review,” said Johnson of Peterson, who can not be licensed until he appears before the commission. “Lamont wants to keep the sport clean. He never took anything to gain an advantage or a competitive edge or to enhance his performance.”
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.
“With Lamont, we’re dealing with a medical issue, and we’ll have more information to come soon,” said Johnson. “That information will be available within days.”
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.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com