Easter battles hard to points win over Shafikov
IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr (20-0, 14 KOs) defeated Russian challenger Denis Shafikov (38-3-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision on Friday night at he Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Both fighters had their moments and exchanged blows throughout the fight, although two of the judges awarded Easter every round with scores of 120-108, while the third scored it 116-112 for the unbeaten champion.
Easter won rounds when he used his height and reach advantage to land jabs and hard right hands. But Shafikov's non-stop pressure fighting forced the American to trade punches at close range for many of the rounds.
"I rate myself a B-minus. I could have done a lot better," said Easter. "Shafikov is a tough opponent, but we got the job done."
Easter was making the second defence of his 135 pound belt. Shafikov was attempting to win the world title for a third time after previously losing points decisions to Rances Barthelemy in 2015, and Miguel Vazquez in 2014, in lightweight bouts for the same IBF belt.