Easter Retains Lightweight Title Over Cruz in PBC on Bounce Main Event

By Mike Sloan Feb 11, 2017
Premier Boxing Champions returned to Bounce TV Friday night with a championship doubleheader and fight fans were treated to a solid night of pugilism.

Robert Easter Jr. retained his IBF lightweight title by dominating Luis Cruz in the main event in the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Easter (18-0, 14 KOs) was sensational in controlling the action throughout and while Cruz never stopped trying to turn the tides in the contest, Easter was magnificent. Easter used superb footwork and precise punching to keep Cruz flustered and nearly knocked him out in the 10th when he decked him with a crushing shot to the head.

Cruz (22-4-1, 16 KOs) struggled to his feet and somehow survived the round and then was taken off his feet in the closing seconds of the 11th. Easter almost scored the knockout when he felled his challenger a third time with about 20 seconds left in the fight, but he had to settle for a lopsided unanimous decision. The judges favored the champ with scores of 119-106, 118-107 and 117-108.

In the co-feature, Zhanat Zhakiyanov scored an upset by dethroning defending WBA bantamweight titlist Rau’shee Warren via split decision. Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18 KOs) was nearly taken out in the opening round when Warren (14-1, 4 KOs) dropped him twice, but the Kazakhstani not only climbed back onto his feet but rallied down the stretch to steal the belt from the American. Zhakiyanov out-boxed the 2008 Olympian and won enough rounds during the remainder of the battle to earn a split nod via tallies of 115-111, 116-110 and 111-115.

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