Amir Khan has spoken of his hurt and disappointment following the cancellation of his world light-welterweight title rematch against Lamont Peterson and says the American champion’s failed drugs test proves he was “a cheat”.
It emerged earlier this week that Peterson, who controversially beat Khan in December to capture the Bolton fighter’s WBA and IBF titles, had tested positive for a banned steroid.
The news cast doubt over the pair’s May 19 rematch in Las Vegas until Golden Boy Promotions and Khan himself confirmed today that the bout has been scrapped.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Khan said: “First of all I’m disappointed because I trained very hard for this fight.
“It was only 10 days away from the fight where my dad came knocking on my bedroom door and said to me ’look, Lamont Peterson’s failed his drug test and the fight’s no longer going to happen’.
“It was a big shock for me. My head was all over the place, I really, really wanted to win my titles back and have the fight. But the truth’s come out now and it just proves that Lamont Peterson was a cheat really.
“It hurt me more than anything because I really did want to go in there and put on a performance and show the world how good Amir Khan is.”
'Not a cheat'
Peterson's publicist Andre Johnson insisted the 28-year-old had done nothing wrong and would fight to clear his name.
He told Sky Sports News: “Lamont Peterson has been boxing for 18 years. In 18 years, barring this incident, he’s never tested positive for anything – and after this incident. Three other tests were taken that he tested negative for.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this and do everything in our power to clear Lamont’s name. Lamont will be fighting very soon.
“We’re extremely disappointed. We wanted to make this fight happen. We’re sorry it didn’t happen.
“Lamont is not a cheat. He is not a steroid abuser. There’s no evidence of anabolic steroid abuse in his body or in his system. The doctor that saw him in Nevada determined he has low testosterone levels. There’s no way a guy with his type of level can test positive for an anabolic steroid that is testosterone-based.”
He added: “Lamont did nothing wrong. He’s not a doper. He’s not a cheater. He’s distraught. He wanted to clear his name and do what he was born to do - fight.
“Mark my words: Lamont Peterson is a man of tremendous character – he’s a fighter. We will fight to get the truth.”
On the possibility of a future rematch against Khan, Johnson said: “We would love to fight Amir Khan again. That’s going to be up to Amir Khan.
“We don’t have a problem. We would love to make it happen. That’s why he accepted the opportunity to fight him this time – because the fans wanted it.”
Asked about how he can get his belts back, Khan said: "The Nevada Commission have taken the licence off Lamont Peterson and they don't want him to fight in the next fight, so I think whoever I fight next they'll put the titles on the line or we still go through the process and we might get the titles back and the fight that we had last time will be a no-contest.''
Khan is now looking to get back in the ring this summer. He said: “I’m looking at fighting June 30. I’m in great shape now. I was looking forward to fighting next week. I’m already at the right weight and it was a tough tough training camp.
“I was so fit and looking forward to this fight. I wanted this fight even when I heard he failed his drugs test, I did everything to get the fight on, but my parents and my team said to me ’look, at the end of the day Amir, it could be a risk to your life. It’s not going to be fair to step into the ring with someone who is gonna to be on drugs and gonna be cheating’.
“The next fight for me will be June, July. I’ve got a meeting with Golden Boy Promotions over the next few days and hopefully we’ll set a date.”
Khan's American promoter Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy, was hopeful the WBA and IBF titles the 25-year-old relinquished in Washington last December would be returned to the Bolton fighter.
Schaefer was also positive about lining up a new bout over the next couple of days.
He told Sky Sports News: “Given the fact this procedure was taking place in November – a month before his first fight with Peterson – we are obviously going to ask the sanctioning organisations, the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation, to rule this fight a no-contest and therefore give back the belts to Amir Khan – where they belong. I do hope the boxing organisations are going to do the right thing.
“Irrespective of that, of course, I will meet with Amir tomorrow and we are going to move forward, with a new opponent and new date and possible new venue.
“We’re trying to do all of that within the next 48 hours or so. Amir will be in another big fight very shortly. The date will be some time towards the end of June, early July.”