NABF and USBA heavyweight titlist Nigerian Samuel Peter, 24-0 (21 KOs), now living in Las Vegas, NV, added the NABA belt to his trinket collection with a resounding second round knockout of Brooklyn’s Taurus “The Bull” Sykes, 23-2-1 (6 KOs), Saturday night in Reno.
Coming into the bout, Peter’s most notable opponents were Jeremy Williams (KO 2, Dec. 4, 2004) and Charles Shufford (W 10, May 17, 2004). His crunching victory over a capable Williams in a televised fight for the NABF belt solidified the 24-year-old’s claim to being the top prospect in the game today.
The light-hitting Sykes racked-up wins over the also-rans of the division, losing only to fellow prospect Owen Beck (L 6, Oct. 7, 2000). Samuel Peter represented his first major step toward notice by the boxing public at-large.
Sykes figured to take Peter into the late rounds by moving and confusing the young “Nigerian Nightmare.” In round one his (relatively slow) movement allowed him to stay out of the way of solid punches, but Peter still outworked Sykes to take the round.
Round two opened with much of the same movement from Sykes. Just seconds into the round, however, Sykes tasted a looping right hand that got his attention. It also flicked the switch for Peter and Sykes was never allowed to recover.
Peter rained punches – many of which missed – and finally landed heavy rights that drove Sykes to the canvas. He was counted out with only a minimal effort at getting up. The end came at 2:07 of the second round.
Peter explained to Jim Gray of Showtime after the knockout win that he knew the fight would end as it did.
“Nobody can take it,” said Peter, informing the rest of the division that he thinks his power can overtake anyone.
Sykes was in fact a non-player in the fight. He offered almost zero offense and his movement and defensive skills were not world-class.
Peter will undoubtedly get a chance against one of the champions, but it will most likely come as a mandatory challenge. His promotional team does not include the name Don King and inasmuch as three of the four belts are tightly locked-up by King means either selling his future or waiting and hoping for a top ranking. Don’t look for anyone to chance an optional defense on the youthful power-puncher.
Vitali Klitschko, the “other” champion, has made no mention of Peter. With almost weekly announcements or rumors of defenses against Oleg Maskaev, Calvin Brock and the so-called mandatory against the winner of the Hasim Rahman-Monte Barrett bout, Klitschko appears to have a full dance card.
“I am more than just a power puncher. I have skills, but I have not fought anyone to bring them out in me,” said Peter at a June 30th press conference. “Sykes thinks I am going to run out of gas after a few rounds. Well, I do not even think about endurance.” It remains to be seen who can test him over the deep rounds of a tough fight.
Peter joins fellow up-and-comer, 22-year-old Alexander Dimitrenko, from the Ukraine, a knockout winner today in Hamburg, Germany over German champion, 42-year-old Andreas Sidon, as the top prospects in the division. Clearly the young, 6’7”, 250-pound Ukrainian giant, now at 19-0 (12 KOs) is taking a somewhat safer route than Peter. Perhaps when the two young men finish off the elderly inhabitants of the division’s elite rankings, they will meet for the right to claim dominance for the next generation.