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Boxingscene.com

Easter: I Must Fight Tall; I Made the Shafikov Fight Too Hard

By Keith Idec

Robert Easter Jr. learned from the mistakes he made in his last fight.

His height is one of Easter’s biggest advantages, but the 5-feet-11 lightweight champion fought Denis Shafikov as if he is much shorter than that and made their 12-round fight more difficult than it should’ve been. Easter is determined to avoid that trap when he encounters another significantly shorter southpaw on Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York.

Shafikov and Javier Fortuna don’t fight the same way, but the 5-feet-6 Fortuna is just one inch taller than Shafikov. The undefeated Easter realizes he must keep Fortuna at his desired distance better than he did against Shafikov, who often engaged Easter inside and gave him some trouble.

easter-shafikov-fight (11)

“I have to use my feet a lot more and use my jab a lot more,” Easter told BoxingScene.com. “I tend to fight like I’m 5-6 or 5-5. Sometimes I forget I’m that tall because I wanna get in there and bang. But I plan to stick to the game plan and use my length and my reach and my height and my speed.”

The 26-year-old Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) will make his third defense of the IBF lightweight title against the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs). Showtime will televise their scheduled 12-rounder as the opener of a doubleheader from Barclays Center (9 p.m. ET), which will feature IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) and Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) in the main event.

Easter expects a more impressive performance than when he beat Russia’s Shafikov (38-4-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision June 30 in Toledo, Ohio, Easter’s hometown. He shut out Shafikov on two scorecards (120-108), but won by a more reasonable score of 116-112 on the third card.

“I was flat-footed in that fight,” Easter said. “I made the fight a lot harder than what it should’ve been, but I came out victorious. Shafikov was a tough opponent. A lot of dirty blows, though, a lot of back-of-the-head shots that I don’t know how the ref didn’t see. He was landing those as clear as day. But I stuck it out and came out with the victory.”

Fortuna has promised to knock out Easter, who believes the former two-division title-holder will box more than the rugged Shafikov.

“Like I said, I made that Shafikov fight harder than it was because I didn’t use my abilities and skills and my height the way I was supposed to use it,” Easter said. “But this fight, I’m setting an example of what I can really do and how I can really make my opponents look.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Boxfan83 on 01-17-2018

[QUOTE=Shadoww702;18414048]You and me both. Those cards were atrocious!! They made CJ Ross and Byrd very proud of their teachings.[/QUOTE] Shafikov shouldve fought that 1 in austrailia lol

Comment by Shadoww702 on 01-17-2018

[QUOTE=Boxfan83;18413780]I thought the Shafikov fight was a lot closer than what the cards read and what most thought. I actually had it a draw but no arguments Easter won.[/QUOTE] You and me both. Those cards were atrocious!! They made CJ…

Comment by Redd Foxx on 01-17-2018

He clearly beat Shaf, but he's right and it's good to see him acknowledge that he didn't fight smart. When you're at that level, you need to use your assets and not play to the other guy's strengths.

Comment by Robi13 on 01-17-2018

Hope Easter wins. Wanna see bunny vs Mikey down the line

Comment by Andre_parker1 on 01-17-2018

when easter fights a guy that can get inside pretty good and has some power and head movement..can keep it up all day..fighting tall won't help..he's gonna need some other boxing skills to get through the opponent

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