Maskaev’s Next Opponent: Not Samuel Peter
Newly crowned WBC Heavyweight Champion Oleg Maskaev will defend his title in mid-December in Moscow, Russia according to his promoter Dennis Rappaport. His opponent will not be mandatory challenger Samuel Peter, but Peter Okhello.
Maskaev’s opponent probably will be 34-year-old Peter Okhello (18-4, 16 KOs), 6-foot-4 fighter from Uganda who is based in Japan. Okhello has never beaten a notable opponent; two of his losses have come to Maskaev victim Sinan Samil Sam (via decision in 2005) and Rahman victim Kali Meehan (via third-round knockout in 1999). In both of those losses, Okhello knocked his opponent down.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Rappaport said. “He’s in the [WBC] rankings, he’s available and it’s a voluntary defense.”
Plan A for the Maskaev camp was to set up a unification bout against Wladimir Klitschko but injuries suffered in Maskaev’s fight against Hasim Rahman prevented that from happening.
Maskaev had a hairline fracture in his elbow, two sore thumbs and a bad back.
“It was about a month too soon for Oleg to be ready to fight Klitschko,” Rappaport said. “It’s a fight we wanted and a fight we worked on, but the timing just wasn’t right. It looks like what we are going to do is for the first time have a heavyweight championship fight in Moscow. Oleg can get in a voluntary fight and then we can come back here for the big fights.”
So what about Samuel Peter? Is he getting hung out to dry?
Rappaport stated that the WBC has allowed Maskaev to take the voluntary defense against Okhello before the end of 2006. The fight would be prevented from happening in 2007 as the WBC would force Maskaev to face Peter or be stripped of his title. Basically, Maskaev-Peter will be happening at some point in 2007.
I’m wondering if Peter will fight again this year or wait for Maskaev in the spring. He looked pretty beat up after the Toney fight and the official medical suspensions haven’t been released yet so I guess we will wait and see…
Organizations • WBC • Heavyweight • James Toney • Klitschko Brothers • Oleg Maskaev • Peter Okhello • Samuel Peter