Peterson started off slow, but shook off the rust, and brought the hammer down on game Holt. (photo courtesy Tom Harrington)
The road to redemption for Lamont Peterson ran through South East DC, onto East Capitol Street, and into the squared circle inside the DC Armory.
There, a small but vocal crowd cheered on their native son as the IBF junior welterweight champion stepped back into the ring after a fourteen month layoff.
Any early evidence of ring rust quickly evaporated as Peterson (31-1-1) thrilled his loyal following with an action packed eighth round TKO of former champ Kendall Holt (28-6-0).
With the bar set high for his first bout following a controversial title win over Amir Khan in December 2011, the focused Peterson emphatically answered any lingering questions concerning his future as a world class fighter.
With the well documented positive test for synthetic testosterone which cost him his WBA title and a lucrative rematch with Khan firmly in his rear view mirror, Peterson provided a statement performance over the talented Holt.
As the bell rang for the first round both fighters spent the initial three minutes feeling each other out. Holt made a statement by connecting with a strong right hand.
Holt continued to press the action in the second and third frames, landing with jabs and right hands. Peterson continued to shake off the rust and refine his attack.
The pace quickened in the fourth as both boxers began to find their range and engage. During a wild exchange near the end of the round, Peterson dropped Holt with a booming right hand. Holt, of Paterson, NJ, survived the eight count and made it to the bell.
Peterson continued to assert himself in the fifth as he battered Holt with savage combinations. Holt was holding on for dear life at one point, laying on top of Peterson against the ropes in an attempt to stop the assault.
Round six found Holt trying to regroup and catch a second wind. He was active throwing combinations. Peterson landed a barrage of fierce punches and put Holt down for the second time. The game former champion survived the eight count but barely made it to the end of the round.
After the intense exchanges of the previous two rounds, both fighters used the seventh to catch a slight breather. They each landed combinations, with Holt seeming to gather himself.
The eighth round began with Peterson intent on walking Holt down and imposing his will. He trapped Holt against the ropes and unleashed an explosive series of punches. With the shots thudding off Holt’s head, referee Tony Weeks had seen enough and waved the fight off at 1:42 of the round.
With the victory Peterson set himself up for important fights and significant paydays in the 140 pound division.
The loss for Holt could mean the end of his run as a major player at junior welterweight.
With his title belt securely around his waist, and cheers of affirmation cascading down around him, Lamont Peterson was redeemed.
The co-feature matched Roman Morales (15-0) against Jesus Pollo Hernandez (10-0-3) in an eight round junior featherweight bout.
Both fighters began at an even, measured pace. Hernandez, of Huntington Park, CA, was the busier of the two and landed some combinations.
Round two started with Morales, of San Ardo, CA picking up the pace and landing a three punch combination. He barley missed with a counter right that could have brought a halt to the proceedings. Both boxers finish the round busy and trading punches.
Morales blazed out of his corner to start the third frame by landing 3 and 4 punch combinations. Hernandez answered with a left and both fighters continues trading back and forth.
In the fourth the exchanges continued between the talented pugilists. Morales closed the stanza by dropping Hernandez with a left-right combination to end the round.
With both fighters banging to start the fifth, the early edge went to Morales as he gained momentum. A crushing body shot near the end of the round dropped Hernandez and he was unable to beat the ten count.
In a six round cruiserweight bout Venroy July (13-0) of Suitland, MD faced off with Elvin Sanchez (5-2-1) of Paterson, NJ.
July, a lawyer by day, is surely glad he’s got his day job. Despite knocking Sanchez down with a short right hand in the second round, he succumbed to a left, right combination from Sanchez at 2:55 of the third round.
Heavyweight Danny Kelly (4-0) of Washington, DC wasted no time in disposing of his 309 pound opponent, South Carolina’s Schyuler Marshall.
The fit and ready Kelly dropped the unfit and unready Marshall with a powerful combination to earn a first round stoppage.
In a scheduled four round featherweight attraction, Gevonte Davis the 2012 National Golden Gloves champion, of Baltimore, got his pro career off to a promising start with a first round technical knockout of Desi Williams, of Wilson, NC.
The evening’s action kicked off with a solid six round featherweight bout between Raul Lopez from the Bronx, NY and DeWayne Wisdom, of Indianapolis, IN.
The action moved back and forth as Lopez mounted a sustained, aggressive attack. Wisdom managed to find his spots, dropping Lopez for an eight count in the second, and connecting with some wild bombs.
Their sustained aggression continued through the six rounds with the more polished Lopez winning a unanimous decision.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV