IBF lightweight world champion Robert Easter will defend his title against former world champion Javier Fortuna in the co-main event of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson on Saturday, January 20 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City.
Also as part of the card, unbeaten light heavyweight Marcus Browne will take on once-beaten Francy Ntetu in a 10-round fight and undefeated heavyweight sensation Adam Kownacki will face once-beaten Iago Kiladze in a 10-round bout.
Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) will be making the third defense of his lightweight world title since he won it with a split decision over Richard Commey on September 9, 2016. Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs) is returning to the venue where he won his first world championship victory when he defeated Bryan Vasquez by unanimous decision on May 29, 2015.
Fortuna is not impressed with any of the attributes of Easter. He believes the champion's biggest strength his height of 5'11 - and beyond that there is a lot to be desired.
He expects to batter Easter until the referee has no choice but to stop the contest.
"I’ve seen speed, felt power and fought people who are taller than Easter. I think what most helps Easter is his height. Other than Easter being tall, he’s average. I think Easter will have a more difficult time adjusting to me than I will him," Fortuna said to Premier Boxing Champions.
"Easter is a great talent, but he’s going to have to re-invent himself. It can end anywhere from the second to the eighth round. I feel like the referee is going to have to move in and stop the punishment he’ll take in this fight. But in the end, I’ll win by knockout."
Fortuna has been studying Easter's 2017 decision win over mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov. The Russian southpaw, who is trained by Abel Sanchez, gave Easter a lot of trouble in the contest.
"Yes. I’ve studied that fight every day. My awkward style and combination punching will cause him trouble. But Easter’s height will be nothing for us. Our sparring partners are taller — 6-foot-1, 6-foot-2 — and they’re very familiar with Easter’s style," Fortuna said.
"I think you will see this fight being a combination of a little bit of everything—short—and long-range fighting. Easter is going to have to come with something new and better than he showed against Shafikov in his last fight."