Lamont Peterson to fight welterweight champ David Avanesyan

Former junior welterweight world titleholder Lamont Peterson, out of action since October 2015, will return to challenge welterweight titlist David Avanesyan on Feb. 18.

Showtime announced Tuesday that the fight (9 p.m. ET) will serve as the co-feature to the previously announced main event between former four-division world titleholder Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) and Chicago's Adrian Granados (18-4-2, 12 KOs) in a 12-round junior welterweight bout. The event will be at the Cintas Center on the Xavier campus in Cincinnati, Broner's hometown.

Also added to the card as the televised opener of what will be a tripleheader was a 10-round light heavyweight bout between prospect Marcus Browne, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, and his most notable opponent, former world title challenger Thomas Williams Jr.

Washington, D.C.'s Peterson (34-3-1, 17 KOs), who turned 33 on Tuesday, has not been in the ring since winning a controversial 12-round majority decision against Felix Diaz more than a year ago. He was linked to a possible fight with Miguel Cotto late last year, but that did not pan out.

"I'm extremely excited about getting back in the ring and fighting on Showtime again," Peterson said. "I've been working hard in the gym and I'm ready to give my fans the kind of show they deserve. I know this guy is coming in with a lot of confidence from that belt, but I believe I'm the better fighter and I'll prove it on Feb. 18."

The 28-year-old Avanesyan (22-1-1, 11 KOs), of Russia, won a vacant interim belt by ninth-round knockout of Charlie Navarro in Monte Carlo in November 2015 and made a successful defense in May, winning a unanimous decision against the long-faded former champion Shane Mosley in Glendale, Arizona.

Recently, Avanesyan was elevated to a full titleholder -- although still a secondary title to the one owned by Keith Thurman -- and will be make his first defense against Peterson.

"It is a great pleasure for me to be defending my world title in the U.S. against a very good opponent in Lamont Peterson," Avanesyan said. "I am the champion and come Feb. 18, I will remain champion. This fight gives me a great opportunity to let the U.S. know what I'm about and put me in a position to fight the top fighters in the division. This will be a difficult defense, but I am ready to show everyone how good I am."

Browne (18-0, 13 KOs), 26, of Staten Island, New York, will be coming off a 10-month layoff, the longest of his career, since he won a very debatable eight-round split decision against Radivoje "Hot Rod" Kalajdzic in April.

"I'm ready to go to work and fight," Browne said. "It doesn't matter if I am the underdog; so be it. Let me be the underdog. I just want to beat this guy up. This is who I wanted to fight. I am fired up about this one and I can't wait until Feb. 18."

Williams (20-2, 14 KOs), 29, of Fort Washington, Maryland, scored a career-best victory in April when he knocked out Edwin Rodriguez in the second round. The win paved the way to a shot at light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson in July, but Williams got knocked out in the fourth round. The fight with Browne will be his first bout since the title fight, but Williams said he didn't want to waste time with an east comeback fight.

"On Feb. 18, I'm not leaving anything up to the judges," Williams said. "I think Marcus has gotten some gifts in the past, so I'm not leaving this up to anyone but myself. I wanted to stay in the mix. I don't need a tuneup. I've been fighting since I was 5 years old. I just need to get in there and fight. I think this is going to be a really good battle."