By Ryan Burton
On Saturday night Rances Barthelemy (27-1) will attempt to once again become a lightweight champion when he faces fellow former champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-1) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The fight will be broadcast live on Showtime.
The Cuban fighter previously held the IBF super featherweight and lightweight titles.
2018 was a tough year for Barthelemy. He suffered his first professional defeat in March when he lost an unanimous decision to Kiryl Relikh in a fight for the WBA super lightweight title. He bounced back from that fight with a 3rd round knockout of journeyman Robert Frankel in December.
Easter is also coming off a recent loss and will be fighting for the first time since his July loss to Mikey Garcia. Barthelemy understands that is a must win fight for both men.
"This is a fight that we both need. It should be a good fight for the fans. It is very important in my career and also in Robert Easter's career for us to get to where we want to go," Barthelemy explained.
Even though he came up short in his attempt to win a world title at super lightweight, Barthelemy said that winning a title in a third weight division is still one of his goals.
The Las Vegas resident decided to take this fight at 135 pounds because of the opportunity to win the vacant WBA lightweight "regular" title. Vasiliy Lomachenko holds the WBA "super" lightweight title in addition to the WBO lightweight title.
"The title is my motivation. It provides a big motivation but it doesn't take away my desire to get a title at 140 pounds as well. It is a dream of mine to become a three-division champion so I definitely still want to go back to 140 and get the title there too," Barthelemy told BoxingScene.com.
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