Lamont Peterson defends IBF junior welterweight title


Lamont Peterson, left, lands a left hook to the head of Edgar Santana during their junior welterewight match. Peterson landed 48 percent of his punches Saturday night. (Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)

Unleashing a torrent of body blows that landed with accuracy and ferocity from start to finish, District fighter Lamont Peterson outworked and outclassed Edgar Santana on Saturday night to retain his International Boxing Federation junior welterweight belt at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

So thorough was the beating Peterson had been administering through the first nine rounds that in the 10th Santana’s corner called for the fight to be stopped at 2 minutes 48 seconds. Peterson then raised his arms above his head as his corner men hoisted the champion high in the air to celebrate a third convincing title defense over the last three years.

“You’ve been watching me for 10 years now. You know I’m going to go to the body,” Peterson said. “A lot of times it’s a little difficult because I always seem to be the taller fighter, but I worked on getting low and getting leverage and concentrating on the body. I know that’s the thing that breaks a lot of people down, especially when you’re fighting on the inside.”

Peterson almost encouraged his overmatched opponent to stalk him, then unloaded to the midsection, yielding significant damage in the early and middle rounds. Santana (29-5, 20 knockouts) nearly went to the mat late in the fourth amid shots to the ribs and stomach mixed with periodic jabs to the head, but the bell bailed him out just as Peterson had the Puerto Rico native leaning on the ropes.

The victory that amounted to little more than a glorified sparring session was part of a card that featured unified light welterweight champion Danny Garcia throttling Rod Salka via a second-round TKO in the main event when Salka’s corner threw in the towel. Peterson paid special mind to that result given he and his team spoke extensively about the possibility of a unification bout against Garcia in the near future.

“Anybody at 140,” said trainer Barry Hunter, who helped take Peterson off the streets of the nation’s capital when he was 10 and into the boxing ring to make a living. “If not at 140, then 147. We’re fighters. That’s what we do.”

The 147-pound division features the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, but Peterson said in the weeks leading up to the Santana fight he also has aspirations to unify the major belts at light welterweight.

For Garcia’s part, the owner of the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts said he watched the co-main event from his dressing room and after beating Salka fired a salvo at Team Peterson.

“I don’t think Peterson wants to fight me after my performance tonight,” said Garcia, who ran his record to 29-0 with 17 KOs in the non-title bout.

Several hours before he was due to step into the ring Saturday, Peterson was front and center to watch younger brother Anthony knock out Mexican journeyman Edgar Riovalle at 2:41 of the first round. After taking a punch to the temple, Anthony Peterson countered with a three-punch combination that dropped his lightly regarded opponent.

Anthony Peterson (34-1, 22 KOs) was barely breathing heavily in the moments following the bout, and he continued as he did during several prefight news conferences to lobby for a title shot at 135 pounds.

“I wanted to go in there and get a knockout,” Anthony Peterson said. “I’m destined for it. No disrespected to my opponent. I respect every opponent I’ve been in there with, but there’s something about the knockout that gets the crowd” excited.

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.

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