Amir Khan has challenged Lamont Peterson to show he has the “balls” to give him a rematch in England after controversially losing his titles to the American in his Washington hometown.
The Briton lost his IBF and WBA light-welterweight belts on a split decision to Peterson last night after a sloppy performance which saw him dragged into a scrap by the local fan favourite.
Yet Khan – who lost after two judges awarded the contest to Peterson with scores of 113-112 – preferred to focus on a perceived injustice at the Walter E Washington Convention Center, blaming referee Joseph Cooper’s decision to dock him a point on two occasions while also disputing the judges’ scoring of the bout.
Indeed, there was an air of confusion at the end of the fight as ring announcer Michael Buffer not only read out an incorrect score but also wrongly announced Peterson’s method of victory as a majority decision rather than a split decision.
Khan’s team have vowed to take their grievance through the official channels and while in reality little is likely to come from those complaints officially, the fight was close and exciting enough to warrant a rematch.
Khan, who claimed he felt he was up against two men in the ring, said: “In my eyes the referee was a bit on his side and it’s true what Bernard Hopkins (veteran light-heavyweight champion) said that when you come to DC, to someone’s hometown, you are two points down before the fight starts. I think that’s what happened.
“Peterson won the fight but I’m ready for the rematch anywhere.
“I came to DC so now let’s take the fight to the UK and see if he has got the same balls as me.
“We all know who won the fight. I’ve even had a few of the commissioners coming up to me and saying that was a disgusting decision.”
Khan’s objections are thought to centre not just on referee Cooper’s admonishments but also the time taken to calculate the result and particularly the way one of the scorecards was recorded.
George Hill – who, like fellow judge Valerie Dorsett scored the bout 113-112 in Peterson’s favour – appeared to initially score the seventh round 10-8 to Khan before amending it to read 10-8 to Peterson.
That anomaly could be explained by the fact Khan was docked a point in that round and Hill may have made a mistake which was then rectified.
“I don’t know why it took so long (to give the verdict),” said Khan, who had knocked Peterson down in the first round but subsequently had to go into survival mode himself in later rounds.
“If they thought he won fair and square then I don’t know why it took so long from the judges to get the scorecards out there. But this is boxing, you live another day. I’m going to go to the gym, sit down with my team and see where we go from here.
“The rematch is something I’m looking at and I want it straight away. I want it in my next fight and I want my two titles back.”
A statement from Khan’s team and his promoters Golden Boy hours after the fight said: “Following the decision in the fight, Team Khan and Golden Boy Promotions intends to make inquiries with the District of Columbia Boxing and Wrestling Commission, the IBF and the WBA regarding the performance of referee Joseph Cooper and will also be seeking clarification regarding certain ambiguities with respect to the scores of the fight.
“We look forward to an immediate rematch with Lamont as confirmed by Lamont and his manager/trainer Barry Hunter.”
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya claimed a rematch is almost guaranteed.
“You’ve heard it from Lamont and you’ve heard it from Amir. We want that rematch. We will be sitting down with both teams and we’ll see what happens.
“The only fair thing to do now, after Amir came to Washington, now let’s take the rematch to the UK.”
Any return clash would be likely to be staged in Las Vegas with Peterson having already shown an unwillingness to travel to Britain, contrary to what he said after this weekend’s contest.
“If it was left up to me then I’d fight him again tomorrow,” said the new champion.
“That’s just me. It doesn’t matter who I fight, or when I fight, I’m always ready to fight. So we’ll see what happens.
“I wouldn’t mind going to the UK. The deal would have to be right. Everything would have to be right but I have no problem with it.”