NEW YORK – On a night that will electrify the boxing world, active World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight Champion Sam Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) will defend his title against WBC Champion Emeritus Vitali Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs), making his dramatic return to the ring after a four-year absence, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Saturday, October 11.
Immediately following the heavyweight world title fight, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT on tape delay, two light heavyweight champions will meet, live on SHOWTIME, when Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver and "Bad" Chad Dawson square off in a long-awaited grudge match.
"It will be experience versus youth in two of the biggest fights of the year," said Ken Hershman, SHOWTIME Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sports and Event Programming. "The boxing world is on notice for Oct. 11, and we are thrilled to deliver both landmark events in one blockbuster telecast on SHOWTIME. I give special thanks to these four world-class fighters for taking the important fight at the right time."
The Peter-Klitschko showdown will be co-promoted by Duva Boxing, K2 Promotions and Don King Productions from a site to be determined. Tarver vs. Dawson is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions in association with AT Entertainment.
Peter, 27 of Las Vegas, by way of Akwaibom, Nigeria, captured the WBC belt in his first world title fight on March 8, 2008 in Cancun, Mexico. With his trademark sledgehammer right hand followed by a sustained flurry of combinations, Peter blasted his way to a sixth-round TKO over Oleg Maskaev to claim the belt.
Frustrated in his attempt to secure a rematch against the only man to defeat him, Wladimir Klitschko, Peter will instead turn his sights to Wladimir's brother, Vitali.
"I want to send Vitali back into retirement, and then end his brother's reign as champion," boasted Peter, who will make his fourth SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING appearance in his past five fights. "I will become the first fighter to end an entire family's boxing career. Everyone is going down. The heavyweight division is mine."
Klitschko, who turned 37 on July 19, has not fought since Dec. 11, 2004, when he successfully defended his WBC title against Danny Williams in Las Vegas. In 2005, Klitschko was scheduled to face Hasim Rahman for his next title defense but the fight was called off when Klitschko injured his knee and back in training. Since then, Klitschko has run for mayor of his native city of Kiev, Ukraine, twice, including a reportedly narrow defeat earlier this year.
Upon his return to boxing, Klitschko is entitled to challenge Peter immediately for the WBC crown because he retired without suffering a loss during his reign as champion.
If successful on Oct. 11, Klitschko will join his younger brother at the top of the heavyweight division, making them the only siblings in history to hold world heavyweight title belts simultaneously. Wladimir is the current International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) champ.
"I cannot believe this day is finally here," said Klitschko, who captured the WBC title on April 24, 2004, with an eighth-round TKO over Corrie Sanders in Los Angeles. "I am injury free and ready to take my title back.
"My brother, Wladimir, and I have had a long-time goal of being heavyweight champions at the same time. That dream will be realized when I take back what is rightfully mine, the WBC heavyweight title. The next step will be holding all of the heavyweight belts with Wladimir."
Kazakhstan's Ruslan Chagaev, who is currently injured, holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt.
Peter, who sports an undefeated record of 6-0 on SHOWTIME, including one win on ShoBox: The New Generation in 2004, has come of age on America's No. 1 Boxing Network.
After scoring a controversial 12-round split decision against James Toney in their first outing on Sept. 2, 2006, Peter left no doubt in the rematch four months later. Peter showed tremendous improvements in defense and movement when he thoroughly dominated Toney en route to a 12-round unanimous decision victory (119-108 and 118-110 twice) in Jan., 2007.
Peter then showed the intestinal fortitude of a world champion when he recovered from three early knockdowns against hard-hitting veteran Jameel McCline on Oct. 6, 2007, on SHOWTIME. After hitting the canvas once in the second and twice in the third round, Peter pounded away and turned the tide to secure a 12-round unanimous decision by scores of 115-110, 115-111 and 113-112.
"Vitali Klitschko almost beat Lennox Lewis, so he is surely one of the dominant heavyweights of this era," said Dino Duva, Peter's promoter. “Vitali will prove to be Sam’s toughest test yet, but a dominant victory will be the first step in Peter's mission to rule the heavyweight division."
The co-main event of the Oct. 11 SHOWTIME telecast is another important fight for boxing.
Tarver, the IBF world champion (27-4, 19 KOs), is the former undisputed light heavyweight world champion and the only man to stick two losses on the professional resume of future Hall of Famer Roy Jones, Jr.
After registering a definitive unanimous decision over the defending IBF 175-pound champion Clinton Woods April 12, 2008, on SHOWTIME, Tarver is back on top of the deep light heavyweight division.
The undefeated Dawson, (26-0, 17 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., is out to prove that he is the man to beat at light heavyweight. A ShoBox alum with speed, coordination and power, Dawson is considered by most industry insiders to be the next star of the star-studded division.