Easter keeps IBF title with points win

Robert Easter retained his IBF lightweight title with victory over Denis Shafikov, even if he failed to deliver the knockout that he had promised.

Easter’s superior height ultimately proved decisive against determined Russian challenger Shafikov, as the American extended his professional winning streak to 20-0.

In the second defence of his championship, the 26-year-old proved particularly successful with his right-hand uppercut as he connected flush on several occasions to take the win on a unanimous decision.

“I rate myself a B-minus,” Easter told Bounce TV after the fight in his hometown of Ohio.

“Shafikov is a tough opponent. He’s a tough, tough opponent. But, you know, we got the job done.

“I knew he was tough, but I thought I could be the first one to break him. I started off inside, and my team was telling me to box, so later on we got to boxing.”

Shafikov remained on the front foot throughout the bout and connected with a succession of left hands.

But while much of the second half of the fight was at close quarters – which favoured the shorter Shafikov – neither boxer could land a hefty enough punch to leave each other sufficiently hurt.