Unbeaten lightweight world champion Robert Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) successfully defended his title for the second time Friday night with a victory over top contender Denis Shafikov (38-3, 20 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
"I'm thankful for my team preparing me for this victory," said Easter. "I give my performance a B- tonight. I could have done a lot better. I fought on the inside more at the beginning of the fight but my team wanted me to box so I was able to do that late and get the win."
The 12-rounds of action were defined by both men having success when imposing their differing styles on each other. Easter had a height and reach advantage that allowed him to jab from the outside in addition to the consistent success he had following up with right hands to Shafikov's head.
"I know a lot of guys' weakness is their gas tank so I wanted to go after him and test him early," said Easter. "Shafikov proved that's he's a tough opponent but we were able to get the job done."
Shafikov was never deterred as he continued to press forward and as the fight went on he was able to increasingly frustrate Easter and land looping shots from awkward angles. He was especially fond of a chopping right hand that was able to land while jockeying for position on the inside with Easter.
The fight ebbed and flowed for 12-rounds, with both men gaining control for moments before being forced to deal with adversity. Easter was given the unanimous decision and retained his belt, although the judges scores of 120-108 twice and 116-112 did not capture the competitive nature of the contest.
"I thought that'd I'd be the first guy to be able to break Shafikov down," said Easter. "I was able to get the win and I'm going to be ready for everybody out there."