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Peterson appeals in WBA's decision on Khan rematch

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2011 file photo, Amir Khan, left, of England, fights Lamont Peterson during a boxing match in Washington. The World Boxing Association says it has granted Khan a rematch against Peterson. Khan appealed the scoring and questioned the presence of a 'mystery man' distracting judges at ringside. FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2011 file photo, Amir Khan, left, of England, fights Lamont Peterson during a boxing match in Washington. The World Boxing Association says it has granted Khan a rematch against Peterson. Khan appealed the scoring and questioned the presence of a "mystery man" distracting judges at ringside. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
By Rob Harris
AP Sports Writer / January 18, 2012
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LONDON—Lamont Peterson's camp has submitted an appeal to the WBA asking it to overturn a decision ordering a rematch against Amir Khan, the British fighter who lost his WBA and IBF belts in a hotly disputed bout.

Khan's camp withdrew an appeal on Tuesday to the IBF over the split decision loss, saying it feared he wouldn't receive a fair hearing, although Peterson's management team said the move vindicated the American's victory.

Khan was challenging the outcome of the Dec. 10 bout, claiming he was unfairly docked two points for pushing Peterson and also implying fight judges may have been influenced by a "mystery man" seen sitting next to them at ringside.

The protests led to the WBA granting a rematch, which Khan's backer, Golden Boy Promotions, announced would be staged within 180 days. That is now being challenged by Peterson.

"A comprehensive written appeal has been submitted to the WBA and we are confident that the WBA will overturn its decision mandating an immediate rematch and recognize Lamont Peterson as the true and final WBA Jr. Welterweight World Champion," Peterson's camp said in a statement on Wednesday.

They were also buoyed by Khan's team withdrawing its appeal ahead of an IBF hearing that was due to take place on Wednesday.

"Team Peterson feels this development serves as a form of vindication as it relates to the ruling of the IBF that Lamont is the IBF Junior Welterweight Champion of the World," said Peterson's camp. "Furthermore, this ruling essentially turns back the clock to Dec. 11th and provides a number of options for Lamont to explore as he continues his professional boxing career."

Khan's camp, though, said it felt "vindicated" by the WBA's backing and urged Peterson to "honor earlier statements in which he asserted that he would be happy to agree to a rematch."

Golden Boy Promotions said it would agree to a 50-50 split of the revenues with Peterson, whose management team insisted that, despite rumors, there are "no open negotiations" about a rematch in Washington.

Peterson reaffirmed that he wants to remain the united IBF and WBA champion.

"Now that this is over I am ready to move on," Peterson said. "As I said before, as champion I plan on representing both sanctioning bodies to the best of my ability and that means fighting the best fighters in the world in defending my titles."

Khan has spent weeks campaigning on his own behalf after claiming poor refereeing and interference with fight judges were behind his loss.

Khan arrived in New Jersey on Tuesday for the scheduled IBF appeal hearing the following day, only for his camp to pull out and expressing concerns that there was going to be only "partial representation of fight officials."

"It would have been a one-sided hearing where not all of the parties would have been there to tell the story," said Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions.

The unexplained presence at ringside of the "mystery man" -- later revealed as Mustafa Ameen, who does unpaid voluntary work for the IBF -- added to the "plethora of anomalies" which the Khan camp claimed marred the fight.

Video footage showed Ameen, who wasn't authorized to be at ringside, distracting judges and leaning across WBA supervisor Michael Welsh during the fight.

Ameen told the BBC on Wednesday he was simply correcting mistakes made by Welsh on his scorecard.

"I noticed one error and a subsequent error. I assisted him in correcting it without touching anything," Ameen said.

The IBF issued its own statement in response to Golden Boy Promotion's criticisms, saying it was "unfortunate" that it had to defend its integrity "when every step to provide a fair and just hearing for both parties was taken and was given the utmost importance."

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AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this report.

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