Samuel Peter released from Top Rank

Updated: October 22, 2010, 10:39 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Six weeks after heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko knocked him out in dominant fashion, former titlist Samuel Peter was released from his promotional contract by Top Rank.

"It was an amicable split and I just want to thank Bob Arum and Top Rank for being great business partners," Ivaylo Gotzev, Peter's manager, told ESPN.com on Friday. "They did everything they said they would do. They did a very good job and we are grateful for their involvement in Samuel's career. We got back to the top with Top Rank, we took a shot and it didn't work out. Now we're going to start over again."

Top Rank signed Peter 15 months ago, when he was at the lowest point of his career -- coming off back-to-back losses. Vitali Klitschko had taken his world title in a one-sided thrashing in which Peter eventually retired on his stool after the eighth round. Then came a decision loss to Eddie Chambers in a fight in which Peter, at a career-heavy 265 pounds, came into the ring in the worst shape of his career, physically and mentally.

After the loss to Chambers, Peter, a native of Nigeria who lives in Las Vegas, split with longtime promoter Dino Duva and Top Rank signed him. Peter got into shape by dropping more than 20 pounds and won four fights in a row by knockout against soft competition over the next eight months, including a second-round knockout of Nagy Aguilera in a title eliminator in March.

Then, when mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin declined a shot against Wladimir Klitschko, the 30-year-old Peter, the next available contender, stepped in to take his place.

Peter (34-4, 27 KOs) had given Klitschko his most competitive fight in years when he knocked him down three times the first time they met in Atlantic City, N.J., in 2005. In the Sept. 11 rematch in Germany, Peter was not remotely competitive and suffered a 10th-round knockout.

Feeling there was nothing else the company could do with him, Top Rank released Peter.

"I think the heavyweight division in the United States is so dismal right now that even a fighter who loses in grand fashion would be difficult to keep on a roster, much less a fighter who wasn't competitive from bell one," Top Rank's Carl Moretti said. "We wish Samuel the best and hope he can rebuild himself and get another shot at somebody."

Gotzev said Peter would take a break for the rest of the year and look to come back in early 2011.

"I'm going to focus on making great fights, but not fighting the Klitschkos," Gotzev said. "The Klitschkos are in a league of their own. But I think Samuel Peter has a great chance against anyone else in the heavyweight division. I can see better fights in the heavyweight division that excludes the Klitschko brothers.

"There are good fights, Samuel Peter against Cris Arreola or Povetkin or Tomasz Adamek or David Haye. Sam is still one of the most murderous punchers in boxing, but needs to be matched up right. So first of the year, he'll be back. He'll get a win and then we'll shoot for a big match against one of those four."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.