One afternoon some three decades ago, Anthony Peterson was passing time at an arcade in the District when an older boy began bullying him, pulling down his pants while he was trying to play a game.
In the ensuing years Anthony learned how to fight too, following his brother into the boxing ring, where Saturday night the super lightweight contender (38-1-1, 24 knockouts) ends a hiatus lasting nine and a half months to face Saul Corral (23-18, 13 KOs) in an eight-round co-feature of Beltway Battles Round Two at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
And Lamont will be watching over his younger brother again, this time as his trainer, a capacity in which he has served since the former two-division champion announced his retirement three years ago.
“This boxing was never for me at first,” Anthony said. “Lamont was boxing since he came out of the womb. I was always afraid of my own damn shadow, but he instilled confidence. It’s just the reassurance, the comfort level that you have in that boxing ring. It’s something that you really, really need.”
Typically the brothers would have been fighting on the same card, with Lamont, 38, as the headliner and Anthony, 37, in the preliminaries. But Lamont decided to hang up the gloves after losing to Sergey Lipinets via 10th-round knockout at MGM National Harbor in March 2019.
It was his second consecutive loss and forced a thorough self-examination about whether hours of training and round after round of absorbing punishment in the ring remained worthwhile sacrifices. Upon concluding it was time for the next chapter in his professional life, Lamont immediately took to training.
“It opened my eyes to a lot,” Lamont said. “If I’m fighting, I’m always going to give it my best, but it’s like you think about things you want to do, but it’s under someone else’s system. You do plan it together, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but on the coaching side I get a little more involved than when I did when I was fighting.”
Among the fighters he has been working since embarking on his career transition is Anthony, who continues to chase an elusive title shot.
He’s armed with a few more tricks these days passed down from his brother, whose most memorable moment came Dec. 10, 2011, in beating Amir Khan in a split decision to claim the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association 140-pound belts.
Anthony was on the undercard that night at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, winning his bout in an eight-round unanimous decision shortly before Lamont touched gloves with Khan, an Englishman who came to the nation’s capital as a presumptive favorite.
Anthony recalled the energy in the building during his brother’s ring walk and how it reached a crescendo when Lamont was declared the winner, marking the long-awaited return of major belts to the District, once the home to multiple champions over several weight classes.
Anthony has yet to be in a position similar to his brother, but working with Lamont has re-energized his passion for the sport and helped keep him dedicated, especially during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lamont has remained somewhat coy amid apprehension over revealing strategy in detailing what the two have been refining heading into Saturday’s match. Anthony, however, suggested a faster, more aggressive style, invoking the “Showtime” Lakers.
“We’re going to be moving,” Anthony said. “This is exactly what we’re trying to bring to the game now, something different.”
Anthony will be fighting for the first time since beating Jairo Lopez in a six-round unanimous decision Aug. 14, 2021, when Lamont was in his corner as well, at World Congress Center in Atlanta. He has fought just twice since 2019, missing all of 2020 because of the pandemic.
The last time Anthony stepped into the ring in Washington was April 1, 2016, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over Samuel Kotey Neequaye at the D.C. Armory.
“I never see the roadblock in the tunnel,” Anthony said. “I always see the light. I didn’t hate on people and continued sticking my ground, so positive energy, and supported these guys winning belts that you know you’re better than because when it’s your turn it’s going to be beautiful.”