Three months after it was revealed that Lamont Peterson failed a drug test, the International Boxing Federation ruled that the District fighter would be allowed to keep his championship belt and ordered a mandatory title defense against Zab Judah.
Peterson won the IBF and World Boxing Association titles on Dec. 10, 2011, when he beat heavily favored Amir Khan in a 12-round split decision at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
After months of contentious negotiations during which Khan’s camp alleged improprieties in refereeing and judging, the fighters’ camps finally agreed to a rematch that was scheduled for May 19 in Las Vegas.
Less than two weeks before the fight, Peterson was found to have used synthetic testosterone, which is a banned substance. The Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency administered the random urine test in March.
In acknowledging the positive test on May 9, Peterson’s camp maintained that the testosterone was organic and that it was used for medicinal purposes only and not as a performance enhancer. The fighter’s team filed paperwork to that effect with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), which denied Peterson a license to fight in the state and forced cancellation of the rematch.
After contracting an independent physician to examine Peterson’s medical records, the IBF released a statement on Friday that read in part:
“After concluding the review of all the documentation provided by Peterson’s camp and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the physician determined that the testosterone levels noted in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association report are consistent with the therapeutic use of the hormone and not for the purpose of performance enhancement.”
“I’m thankful, and I’m thrilled with the IBF’s decision,” Peterson said in a statement.
The filings on behalf of Peterson by Jeff Fried, his D.C.-based attorney, included a supporting letter from John A. Thompson, a Las Vegas physician who treated Peterson for a “critically low level of free testosterone.” Peterson visited Thompson in November 2011 after complaining of fatigue and lack of concentration, which Thompson’s letter indicated are symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency.
According to Thompson’s letter and those from other medical professionals who examined Peterson, he has hypogonadism, a condition requiring therapeutic testosterone. Thompson wrote in his letter that he administered 800 milligrams of “bioidentical testosterone derived from soy” in pellet form to Peterson, “neither the type nor the amount of testosterone sufficient to produce significant athletic improvement.”
Even though bioidentical testosterone falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list , Peterson’s team did not request an exemption that would allow an athlete to take a banned substance if it is required to treat an illness or condition.
Although the IBF ruled in favor of Peterson, the WBA last month reinstated Khan as its 140-pound champion. Khan subsequently lost by knockout to Danny Garcia in a bout to unify the WBA and World Boxing Council belts on July 14.
Representatives from Peterson’s team indicated a fight against Judah could take place perhaps in two months at a venue to be determined. Judah won the elimination bout for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s light welterweight rankings.
The next meeting of the NAC is set for Aug. 24, and Peterson’s camp has requested to be included on the agenda. The official agenda has not been announced, and it’s unclear what impact the IBF’s decision will have on the NAC granting Peterson a license.
The fight “is expected to take place as soon as possible on a date that all parties involved agree upon,” the IBF statement said.