Peterson takes WBA crown with Avanesyan win

Lamont Peterson shook off the ring rust to defeat champion David Avanesyan in their WBA welterweight bout on Saturday night in Cincinnati.

Fighting for the first time in more than a year, Peterson took advantage of Avanesyan’s high hands, punishing the Russian with body shots as he earned a unanimous decision 115-113, 116-112, 116-112.

Peterson, a former light welterweight champion outlanded Avaneysan 188 to 156 in power shots, while his superior work rate won him favour with the ringside judges.

The loss sees Avanesyan record drop to 22-2-1 with 11 KOs

Talking about his layoff after the fight, Peterson said: “I expected to pick up where I left off. Sixteen months seems like a long time, but if you’re in the gym and working on your craft, it’s not a long time.”

He added that the break had given him time to work on his conditioning and technique. “I took some steps forward tonight and I look forward to going back to camp and keep moving,” Peterson said.

Avanesyan was naturally disappointed with the loss.

“I thought it was a close fight and I thought that I was landing my punches more cleanly while his punches were being blocked. Lamont is very good but I thought the judges were impressed with his movement, but I had the power,” Avanesyan said. “I understand it would be hard to win a decision in the U.S. I’m upset I lost my title but I will keep fighting and I’d love to fight Lamont again.”

Meanwhile, Peterson, 33, said he would like to meet the victor of the welterweight title unification fight between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia on March 4.