D.C.’s Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) narrowly edged WBA regular welterweight world champion David Avanesyan (22-2-1, 11 KOs) Saturday in Cincinnati in an entertaining 12-round unanimous decision (115-113, 116-112 twice) to become a two-division champion.
In a Showtime Championship Boxing co-feature at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, Peterson attacked on the inside instead of working off his jab, as was largely his game plan when he unified the 140-pound division.
Avanesyan and Peterson traded body punches and uppercuts, but it was Peterson who was more fluid and effective in the second half of the fight. Peterson committed to the body in the later rounds, connecting on 98 shots to the body over 12 rounds.
Both fighters connected on 40 percent of their total punches, but Peterson connected on 39 percent of his power shots compared to 29 percent for Avanesyan.
“I was expecting to pick up where I left off,” Peterson said of his 16-month layoff. “That may seem like a long time, but if you’re in the gym it’s not a long time. I took some steps forward tonight. We’re looking to get back in camp and keep moving.
“I expected to put pressure on him the way he did,” he said of Avanesyan. “I didn’t think he would fight back as hard as he did. He showed he’s a champion and shows he’s at this level. I want to fight anyone in the welterweight division now.”
Avanesyan admitted it was a close fight but thought he did enough to get the decision.
“I thought that I was landing my punches more cleanly while his punches were being blocked,” Avanesyan said. “Lamont is very good but I thought the judges were impressed with his movement, but I had the power.”
In the co-feature, Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados battled in a close, back-and-forth matchup, with the four-division world champion Broner eking out a split decision victory in his hometown of Cincinnati.