Samuel Peter a National Hero

04.12.07 - WBC Interim Heavyweight Champion Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter has been embraced by the people in his homeland of Nigeria as a national hero, and everywhere he has visited, crowds have gathered, parades have been held and honors bestowed..

"You have proudly hoisted our nation's flag on the highest stage of professional boxing. Your outstanding achievement will inspire other Nigerian sports men and women to great international attainments to the glory of the fatherland," proclaimed Nigerian President, Umaru Yar'Adua, as he presented Peter with the Order of the Niger (OON).

Back home for the first time since being named champion by the WBC, Peter has been mobbed everywhere he has gone. "He's a hero and an inspiration to his people," said manager Ivaylo Gotzev, who accompanied Peter for part of the journey. "Everywhere he goes there are thousands of people there cheering."

In another prestigious honor, Nigerian police have promoted Peter, already a 'sports policeman', to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and converted him to a regular police officer.

By being named champion and successfully defending against Jameel McCline in October, Peter becomes the first Nigerian-born and second-ever African born world heavyweight champion. He was accompanied to the Presidential ceremony by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Peter's home state in Nigeria's southeast.

"Our ultimate dream is to bring a world heavyweight championship fight to Nigeria featuring Samuel. An event like that would be on a level that hasn't been seen since the Rumble in the Jungle (Ali vs. Foreman 1974 in Zaire)," revealed Peter's promoter, Dino Duva, "and don't be surprised if happens in the very near future."

The power-punching Peter will soon be returning to the United States to continue training for his WBC Undisputed Heavyweight Championship fight with Oleg Maskaev. The bout is scheduled for February 2 and will be broadcast on Showtime.

Article posted on 05.12.2007

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