Khan stunned in Washington as hungry Peterson rips titles from champion
Amir Khan”s dreams of global superstardom were spectacularly derailed in Washington as local man Lamont Peterson grabbed his WBA and IBF titles from him with a split decision victory.
The English champion had Peterson down twice in a brilliant first round but had to come through perilous onslaughts in the third and seventh while also twice being docked a point.
Those deductions made all the difference, too, as Peterson snatched victory on two cards by just a point.
Stunning: Lamont Peterson shows off his belt after shocking Amir Khan in Washington
Khan came into the bout talking of moving up to welterweight and pursue glory in that division.
The pre-fight buzz had centred on his long-term future rather than the more immediate proposition of dangerous challenger Peterson.
While Khan came into the ring boasting a record of 26-1 with 18 stoppages, Peterson (29-1-1, 15KO wins) also had just the solitary defeat, which came against WBO champion Timothy Bradley in 2009.
Getting through: Peterson struggled early on but started to find his range as the rounds wore on
Yet Khan was the overwhelming favourite despite being on away turf and his introduction was met with a hostile response from a pro-Peterson crowd, albeit peppered with his own followers.
A superb opening round saw Peterson down twice. First, the Englishman landed a right hand and glancing left hook which sent the American down only for referee Joseph Cooper to seemingly rule it a slip.
Flying start: Khan had Peterson down in the first round as his combinations found success time and time again
The count was administered moments later, however, as another combination culminating in a sharp left sent the American onto the floor in the same corner.
Peterson showed more in the second, holding ring centre but seeing Khan land the more eye-catching shots.
On the ropes: Peterson consistently controlled the centre of the ring as Khan was forced onto the backfoot
Khan survived a nightmare third round in which he took a right hand to the head and left to the body which left him on wobbly legs for the remainder of the session.
He had to run for much of the round as Peterson stalked him and repeatedly landed power shots to head and body, one of which – a right near the ear – very nearly sent Khan tumbling.
Undaunted, Khan was prepared to trade with Peterson in the fourth, piling in with a right hand the challenger did well to shake off but struggling to utilise his speed.
Taking aim: Peterson found success with body shots as Khan struggled to survive the onslaught
Khan went down under pressure in the fifth but clearly had just lost his footing and he clearly won the round to maintain a slender lead.
Both men landed body shots but Khan, having boxed beautifully for moments in the sixth, allowed himself to be hit before landing a superb double left-right which had his own fans off their seats.
Khan seemed wobbled by a right hand and left hook and clinched before firing back quickly.
Making his mark: Peterson was the more aggressive fighter throughout the bout with Khan
A frantic seventh saw Khan rocked again as he had to hold on after being caught with rights and left hookson the ropes, with Khan wheeling away on unsteady legs in a bid to survive.
Khan – who goaded Peterson in an act of machismo – was then docked a point at the round”s conclusion for pushing.
Petersondug in two hurtful lefts to Khan”s ribs and followed with a left hook to the head in a neutral corner as the Briton looked ever closer to letting his titles slip away.
All over: Khan and Peterson hug after 12 gruelling rounds before the American celebrates the decision
Early in the ninth Khan was caught badly again but rallied to launch a spirited attack of his own. Both men”s faces were marked up as the tempo ebbed and flowed.
Khanthen landed a left-right double which left Peterson out on his feet only to shake it off well. Khan dug in a right to the body and a long left hurt Peterson again.
Still Peterson marched forwards and Khan took a winging right hand to the head as the session ended.
Stunned: Khan is in shock after losing his world titles to Peterson who offered the Brit a rematch
Khan”s fancy footwork was not stopping Peterson landing blows, though it was the champion who just edged the 11th.
Khan was docked another point for pushing in the final round as both men looked to snatch victory and after the fighters embraced at the final bell, it was Peterson who took the shock split decision win with scores of 113-112 twice in his favour with Khan being handed 114-111 by the third judge.