Samuel Okon Peter first announced himself to the world when he defeated James Toney on September 2, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the right to challenge WBC heavyweight champion, Oleg Maskev. Despite winning by a split decision, the WBC still found adequate reasons to order for a rematch and on January 6 2007, Samuel Peter once again defeated James Toney in the rematch and this time, by a unanimous decision. A year later, the “Nigerian Nightmare” became the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the world but he reigned for only two years.
On March 27 2009, Eddie Chambers defeated Samuel Peter by a majority decision in what was perhaps the former heavyweight champion of the world’s worst performance in a boxing ring. Peter weighed in at a career high of 265 Ibs and threw very few punches. He seldom threw more than one or two punches in succession. Chambers stayed outside and frustrated Peter with lateral movement. After a few rounds, Peter was pushing his punches and looking exhausted. Chambers did enough to frustrate Peter and consistently outworked him. The Nigerian cum American boxer had just lost 2 fights back to back with the first, a disastrous defeat in the hands of comebacking Vitali Klitschko in Berlin.
“Stop the fight” Samuel Peter yelled at his corner after the 8 th round. He had been dominated the entire fight by Klitschko’s efficient outside punching. By retiring on his stool, Samuel Peter became the first heavyweight champion in history to quit against his corner’s advice while defending the championship. He had just surrendered his belt to a Vitali Klitschko making a return to boxing after a 4-year absence.
On June 24, 2009, Jerry Okorodudu who represented Nigeria in the middle weight class at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics in the US granted an interview to the Sun newspapers online and subsequently advised Samuel Peter to quit boxing immediately.
According to Okorodudu, no matter how hard Samuel Peter might try a comeback, he would never be able to resurrect his career and stand the heat at the highest level in the pugilist sport. The Edo State born boxer turned coach declared that any further attempt by Samuel Peter to challenge the top spot would be tantamount to a suicide mission.
“If you ask me, I will tell you that it is over for Samuel Peters. I don’t see him achieving anything more than what he had already achieved in boxing. I wrote Peter off after his match with Vitali Klitschko, not even with his last fight against Chambers”.
“For him to allow the man who had his last fight some four years ago to destroy him and put a question mark on how he got the belt in the first place was disturbing”, a disappointed Okorodudu lamented while also advising him to take a sabbatical from the game and return to his career as a policeman.
“You could see that even in his recent fight with Chambers, the American disgraced him. He did not do well in that fight. He was careless in the ring and looked very heavy. Maybe he is satisfied to have been a former world champion and felt there was nothing to fight for. His head was not moving and his punches were not thrown properly. In fact, everything he did that day was wrong. If Peter should sit down and watch the video clip of the match, he will weep for himself. The only thing for Peter to do now is to call it quit and comeback home for his police job. As of now, I don’t think he can make it again as a professional boxer. His reflexes are already dead. If I am his manager, I will advise him to take a rest and forget boxing. His name is already in the Guinness Book of Records as a former and first African to become a WBC Heavyweight Champion. He should take a break and enjoy his money and comeback for his police job”, Okorodudu concluded.
10 years down the line, Jerry Okorodudu couldn’t have been more correct. At 39 years of age, Samuel Peter has failed at every bid to stage a comeback. Fights after fights and it has been defeats after defeats for the “Nigerian Nightmare”. On September 11, 2010, Samuel Peter fought Wladimir Klitschko again at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt am Main. It was a Heavyweight Championship match for the IBF, IBO and WBO Heavyweight Title and the fight was stopped in the 9 th round with Klitschko sending Peter to the canvass with a punishing combination.
In April 2011, Samuel Peter fought against undefeated Finnish Prospect Robert Helenius in Germany and still lost by knockout in round 9. In fact, Samuel Peter stayed on the canvass for well over the 10 second count and the nature of the loss to Helenius as well as Peter’s terrible physical condition led many to call for Peter’s retirement from boxing.
In December 2016 in front of a 15,000 crowd at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria, former World Title Challenger Kubrat Pulev defeated Samuel Peter via a 4th round RTD to win the vacant WBA inter-Continental heavyweight title after the fight was stopped before the start of round 4 when Samuel Peter dislocated his right shoulder while throwing a big punch. He went back to the corner leaning towards the right side and the injury forced him to retire.
Like the cat with the nine lives, Samuel Peter returned to boxing in 2019 having not fought in two years to knock out Journeyman Gerardo Escober after only 44 secs in Mexico in February but all that was soon overshadowed by a surprise defeat to another Journeyman, Mario Heredia with an eight round split decision at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in April 2019.
Hughie Fury was next in July 2019 and the result was no different. Tyson Fury’s cousin won the dirty fight in the seventh round as Samuel Peter once again dislocated his shoulder and couldn’t continue. He claimed the referee caused him the injury when he crashed into him as a means of separating the two big men.
Refusing to give up, Samuel Peter accepted to fight against Arslanbek Makhmudov in Montreal, Canada few days into December and it was a disgrace. He was stopped in the first round.
That day in 2007 when Samuel Peter became the WBC Heavyweight Interim World Champion following the inability of the incumbent Oleg Maskaev to defend his title against the mandatory challenger and the day the Nigerian Nightmare actually knocked out Oleg Maskaev in Cancun Mexico a year later in 2008 now belongs to the distant memories. There was once a champion.