Easter barely retains IBF lightweight title

By Arvin Nundloll at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney

Robert Easter Jr battled through a tough 12 round split decision fight against Javier Fortuna to barely defend his IBF Lightweight Championship belt. It was a close fight, both on the cards and physically as Easter Jr. opted to box on the inside which led to a frustrating 12 rounds on both fighter’s parts with constant clinching and scuffed shots.

Fortuna was deducted a point for repeat blows to the back of the head. Fortuna took on a more aggressive stance from rounds 3-4, targeting Easter Jr. in close exchanges before hurling inside hooks to the head, some still reaching around the back of Easter Jr.’s head.

The 6th round started off as a clinch-filled round up until Fortuna landed a flush left counter hook that dazzled Easter Jr. towards the end of the round, Easter Jr. was delighted to hear the sound of the bell to regain his composure.

Not much action in rounds 7-8 but the 9th round saw Easter Jr. begin to find his reach and close down Fortuna more and land some inside combinations. More of the same occurred in the 10th and 11th round with both fighters fighting on the inside and getting just enough shots in to make it competitive although there was not much to separate either fighter.

The action picked up in the 12th round but nothing significant enough to change the outcome of the fight as both fighters were evenly matched. After 12 rounds, we went to the judge’s scorecards which read 114-115 to Easter Jr., 114-115 to Fortuna and 115-112 to Robert Easter Jr. A close split decision where no one left the ring as a confident victor.

Easter Jr. moves up to 21-0, 14 KO’s while Fortuna drops to 33-2-1, 23 KO’s. Audible (deafening) boos as Easter Jr. spoke to Showtime after the fight.

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