In five short years, Anthony Peterson has put himself in a position to realize his childhood dream of being a world champion. But he wished it had happened sooner.
The lightweight brings a 30-0 record with 20 knockouts into Saturday's WBA elimination fight at the Palms against Brandon Rios (24-0, 18 KOs). The fight, which is in support of the main event that pits reigning WBA featherwewight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa against IBF champ Orlando Salido, is big for Peterson and Rios. The winner will get a title shot late this year or in early 2011 against reigning champion Miguel Acosta.
"We're facing a killer, no mistake about it," said Peterson, who has fought only once in the past year after injuring his right knee. "Every fight is mandatory for me to win."
Peterson said he thought a world title shot would have come sooner.
"I'm actually disappointed," he said. "There's guys who have gotten title shots before I did. But I should have spoken up more for myself. But that's boxing. I just have to take care of my business, and I'll get to where I want to be."
Peterson is to arrive in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and, according to his trainer and manager, Barry Hunter, Peterson's knee is fine, and he has looked good in his sparring.
"His coordination is much sharper than I've seen," Hunter said. "He's eluding punches in sparring, and he's looking good countering when the other guy misses."
Hunter said his biggest concern is Peterson overtraining for Rios.
"Anthony is a gym rat," Hunter said. "You have to keep close tabs on him. Otherwise, he'd be training 24 hours a day. For this fight, I've had to hold him back a little. He's treating it like a title fight."
Peterson said with him being so close to a world title shot, he can't afford to be careless against Rios, who is coming off a third-round technical knockout over Jorge Luis Teron in February.
"I grew up with Rios, and I know him well," Peterson said. "He's a real solid technical fighter. But he doesn't have great foot and head movement, and I think he's going to have problems dealing with my speed and quickness. ... Frankly, I don't see it going the distance."
■ HILTON FIGHTS -- Two title fights headline the Sept. 15 card at the Las Vegas Hilton, as IBO featherweight champion Jackson Asiku (26-3, 14 KOs) defends his belt against former champ Jhonny Gonzalez (45-7, 39 KOs) in the 12-round main event.
The co-feature has Juan Carlos Salgado (22-1-1, 16 KOs) meeting Tyrone Harris (24-6, 16 KOs) in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBO super featherweight belt.
Also scheduled to fight is Las Vegas lightweight Renell Griffin (6-2, two KOs), who will face Khadaphi Proctor (5-5) in a four-round bout, and former University of Miami football player Quadtrine Hill, who won his heavyweight debut by knockout Feb. 16 and meets Yohan Banks (3-4-3, one KO) in a four-round bout.
Tickets are $25, $40 and $75, and the first bell is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
■ PRIMM CARD -- Welterweights Freddy Hernandez and Mike Anchondo will headline a card at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm on Sept. 17.
The card, which will be televised live on Showtime, will have seven bouts, including a women's fight between Crystal Hoy of Las Vegas and Lucia Larcinese. Hernandez (28-1, 19 KOs) and Anchondo (30-2, 19 KOs) will meet for the Latino welterweight championship.
Tickets are $10 and $50, and the first bell is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913.