Former two-time IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson is set to make his return to the ring on Oct. 17. Peterson will headline the Premier Boxing Champions’ next PBC on NBC against unbeaten Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz Jr. in a 10-round welterweight encounter.
Peterson is aiming to bounce back from a majority decision loss to Danny Garcia in April. Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KOs) had won two in row before the Garcia bout, that after being knocked out in the third at the hands of Lucas Matthysse. The Washington, D.C. ,native said he’s ready to prove to the world that he is still one of the top fighters in his weight division, but he knows Diaz is going to be a tricky opponent. Peterson immediately returned to the gym after his loss to Garcia.
"I'm very excited to be back in the ring, especially close to home in Virginia and fighting on NBC," said Peterson. "I'm happy just to be doing what I love to do. I've been in the gym and I've stayed ready so I'm prepared to give the fans the kind of show they deserve."
Diaz is a two-time Olympian and won gold for his native Dominican Republic at the 2008 Beijing Games. He’s looked stellar as a pro and has beaten a few quality fighters like Emmanuel Lartey and, most recently, Gabriel Bracero. But Diaz (17-0, 8 KOs) has yet to take on the caliber of opponent like Peterson.
"I am very thankful for this opportunity and I know that Lamont Peterson will be my toughest battle so far," Diaz stated. "I am confident that at the end of the fight, I will have my hand raised. No disrespect to Lamont, but he has had his opportunity. Now it is my time to show the world who Felix Diaz is. I can assure you that the fans will not be disappointed on October 17."
The co-main event of the evening will feature Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) vs. Australia’s Blake Caparello. Dirrell is looking to bounce back from a heart-breaking loss to James DeGale, against whom he dropped a unanimous 12-round decision in May.
Dirrell has twice challenged for a world title at 168 pounds, but he lost both bids; to Carl Froch in 2009 and then to DeGale. He knows he can ill-afford to slip up against Caparello, who typically fights at light heavyweight.
"My motivation to succeed only gets stronger with each fight," said Dirrell. "I fight to win. All I want to see is a belt around my waist. Whatever it takes, whatever I have to do, it'll get done. I will be a world champion. This fight is the next step."
Caparello (21-1-1, 6 KOs) challenged once for a world title, but he was blown away in the second by Sergey Kovalev. He’s won two straight since then and knows how big of a chance it is to be fighting Dirrell on a card with such a far-reaching potential audience.
"This is a huge opportunity for me to show the world that I am one of the best 168-pounders in all of boxing," said Caparello. "This is the weight class where I belong. Dirrell is a former Olympian and, like myself, a world title challenger. I expect a very tough fight on October 17, but I know that I will be victorious."
The event will be held inside the Eaglebank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The telecast will air live on NBC starting at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
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