During the past few years, the Peterson brothers have received increased attention. Born 14 months apart, the Petersons were left without their parents very early in life. Their father was incarcerated while their mother experienced difficult personal issues. All of this resulted in one thing for the young Peterson brothers--they became homeless.
For nearly a year, they found themselves sleeping wherever they could, even in an abandoned car. And when they couldn’t find a place to sleep, the walked the streets all night. As a 4th grader, Lamont, and a 3rd grader, Lamont, school became a refuge from the elements and a place for food, but when the school day ended, the Petersons were back to the streets.
Obviously, there was no real opportunity for extra-curricular activity. Even friendships were very difficult. After several months, school administrators learned the boys were homeless. They were able to identify a foster parent for the Petersons--Bernice Thomas. Now, they had a place to live and could focus on school and other interests.
Lamont knew from the age of five that he wanted to be a professional boxer. One evening in 1989, he watched a boxing card on television that included lightweight champion Pernell Whitaker. He was so taken by Whitaker’s quickness and athleticism that during the fight he developed a desire to box. Anthony, on the other hand, didn’t have much interest in boxing--he had a burning desire to emulate his big brother. While Lamont was 10 years old, Barry Hunter, a local boxing coach, introduced the brothers to the sport of boxing. While mentoring them, Hunter helped develop their boxing skills. The brothers became outstanding boxers.
Hunter is one of the most respected trainers in the boxing industry. He trains fighters at the Headbangers Boxing Gym in Washington, D.C. The Headbangers boxing facility is not just a place where fighters train. It is a place where many individuals, struggling with life challenges, can find an escape from the hardships and temptations of the streets. Coming to the Headbangers Gym gives individuals an opportunity to interact and train with Hunter who helps them put their lives on the right track.
Soon after Lamont began going to the gym to train, true to form, Anthony followed. The brothers became so consumed with boxing they lost focus on their education. They both dropped out of Cardozo High School prior to reaching the 11th grade. Hunter stepped in and quickly got them recommitted to their academic pursuits. Both Petersons have now earned their GED’s. Hunter and his wife Cologne have really been the backbone of the Petersons’ development. Through the Hunters, they received the love, discipline, and relationships they were lacking. The brothers found a support system.
In early 1995, the brothers began their amateur careers. Over the next eight years, the Petersons had stellar amateur careers. Lamont was the 2001 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion. In 2003, he became the 141 pound U.S. Champion. He also beat 2003 amateur World Champion Willy Blain in that same year. Meanwhile, Anthony was the 2003 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion and he also won the Junior Olympic National Tournament.
Managed by Barry and Cologne Hunter, the Petersons’ pro careers have been just as impressive as their amateur ones. Lamont’s record is 29-1-1, while Anthony is 30-1. In 2009, Lamont defeated Willy Blain with a 7-round TKO to win the interim WBO Lightweight World Championship. In 2008, Anthony defeated Michael Holton by unanimous decision to win the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) interim Lightweight Title.
The journey of the Peterson brothers is one that touches those who feel as though they have been forgotten. It encourages others who are looking for a way out and it inspires all of us to chase our dreams.