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Andrew Golota, a four-time heavyweight title challenger washout, is the leading candidate to face Samuel Peter for the WBC interim title in the wake of a back injury to beltholder Oleg Maskaev, Peter's manager told Sunday night.

Maskaev was supposed to make a mandatory defense of the WBC title against Peter on Oct. 6 at New York's Madison Square Garden on Showtime, but he withdrew Friday because of the injury.

Andrew Golota, left, may get one more crack at a heavyweight title.

On Monday, Peter was named the interim WBC heavyweight champion by the organization's board of governors.

Maskaev's injury left show promoter Don King, the Peter camp and Showtime huddling about what to do about the card.

Peter (28-1, 22 KOs) has already won two consecutive title elimination bouts and has not fought since January, so his camp wants him to fight for the title in two weeks.

Golota, who was scheduled to fight Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride on the undercard, is the likely candidate to face Peter if the card stays afloat.

"The deal is done. All it's pending is WBC approval," Ivaylo Gotzev, Peter's manager, said of Golota. "It comes down to the WBC and if they are going to sanction it."

It also will come down to whether Showtime will buy the fight (and for how much) and whether Madison Square Garden is willing to go through with the card that was struggling at the box office before Maskaev fell out.

"I am in the process of trying to save [the show]," King told

However, King would not discuss the possibility of Golota getting the fight.

"Right now, I'd rather not comment on that. I don't want to jump the gun on anything," King said, adding that he was flying to New York on Monday morning to meet with Garden and Showtime officials.

Said Dino Duva, Peter's promoter, "Sam Peter has waited too long for this title fight. He can't wait around for Maskaev to get healthy. Samuel Peter should fight for the heavyweight championship on Oct. 6."

Behind the scenes Sunday, at least one close associate of WBC president Jose Sulaiman told that he was trying to persuade Sulaiman not to approve Golota fighting for the interim title.

The reasons: Golota is unranked by the organization, he has been inactive and several more credible fighters have expressed interest in facing Peter on short notice, including former titlists Oliver McCall -- who is ranked third by the WBC -- and John Ruiz, who outpointed Golota in a November 2004 title bout.

Aside from the fact that Golota (39-6-1, 32 KOs) is not ranked by the WBC, his past history in title fights is poor. He is 0-3-1, including two first-round knockout losses.

In his most recent title bout, Golota, who is promoted by King, was crushed by beltholder Lamon Brewster in 52 seconds in May 2005. After that fight, Golota didn't fight for 25 months, returning in June to knock out journeyman Jeremy Bates in the second round in his native Poland.

In his other title bouts, Golota was starched in one round by Lennox Lewis in 1997 before coming up winless in three consecutive title bouts -- a draw with Chris Byrd in April 2004, the decision loss to Ruiz and the embarrassment against Brewster.

Another name mentioned as a possible opponent for Peter is Jameel McCline (38-7-3, 23 KOs), another King fighter. He was scheduled to fight DaVarryl Williamson on the Oct. 6 undercard in a fight made last week after Vitali Klitschko injured his back and withdrew from a Sept. 22 Showtime bout against McCline in Germany.

Gotzev said he wants the fight with Golota to be finalized despite the fact that he is unranked, which goes against the WBC's own rules governing interim title bouts.

"Boxing is an attraction. There ain't no rules in boxing," Gotzev said. "This is the wild, wild west. Golota in New York City in Madison Square Garden in a title fight is an attraction and boxing is an attraction sport. You got a big, hard-punching Pole who gives some good and bad performances and you got Sam Peter, who is overdue for his title shot. Andrew was supposed to fight McBride, so he is in tremendous shape and he has been training. We want to make the fight. We got to go make a payday. Our babies need new diapers


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Give Mccall the shot for old times sakes. I would laugh so hard if he would beat Peter. But seriously am i the only one who cant stand Peter? He is really slow (maby not in the first 3 rounds) hes way to big (some may say hes fat)and he just takes a break during the fght. Remember the Tony fight? they fougt for 1 minute every round and the other 2 minutes they were just chillin. I cant wait for Wlad to get him again.
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