Standing Eight: Robert Easter Jr.

The former world lightweight champion is hungry for another title as he weighs his options in and around the 135-pound division.

Former lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. is hungry for another world title.

Easter has surveyed the landscape and is willing to take a crack at all the other champions at 135-pounds, including a rematch versus IBF titleholder Richard Commey, facing WBA/WBO counterpart Vasyl Lomachenko—or perhaps even a move to 140- or 147-pounds.

The 28-year-old Easter (21-1-1, 14 KOs) first won a title in September 2016, when he defeated the previously unbeaten Commey by split decision in a classic back and forth to claim the IBF crown.

The nearly 5-foot-11 Toledo, Ohio, native made three defenses before being dethroned by a unanimous decision loss to Mikey Garcia in July 2018. Most recently, he battled to a 12-round draw versus former two-division titlist Rances Barthelemy last April.

Boxing is all Easter knows. As a child, Robert Jr. emulated former boxer Robert Sr. with bathroom tissue on his fists and Vaseline on his face. The legacy is being passed down. Robert Jr.'s 2-year-old son, Robert Easter III or “3Bunny,” was born in June 2017, the day Robert Sr., also his trainer, turned 49.

How have you been spending your time away from the gym as a father to Robert Easter III?

I’ve been out of the ring as far as fighting, but not out of the gym as far as training. I’m not in training camp, but I’m never far away from the gym. As Robert III is learning from me, I’m learning from him. As I’m teaching him. He’s really watching what I say and do as I did with my Dad.

My son learns something new every day, going to the gym every now and then, putting his fists up and throwing punches. Seems like he likes boxing, which is in his bloodstream, but I can’t say whether or not that’s what he’ll wanna be because you never know what other things he may love during his life.

Can you assess your performance versus Rances Barthelemy?

Styles make fights, and because we’re both counter punchers there wasn’t a lot of action and it was more of a chess match in the ring.

Of course, looking back I felt like maybe I should have walked him down like in some of my other fights that were close.

But I wanted to display my boxing skills and was trying to develop a better style than just bulldozing my way forward and just throwing punches.

I didn’t take a lot of punishment in that fight. I was the aggressor the whole time and landed a few more shots, but that was one of my worst performances.

Do you want a rematch?

A rematch can be made, but I wanna go and get them titles, so fights like that with Rances Barthelemy are up in the air.

He’s another weird opponent like the left-handers Denis Shafikov and Javier Fortuna that didn’t mesh for good styles when I had the title.

Any time I step into the ring from now on, I just wanna fight champions. Former World Lightweight Champion - Robert Easter Jr.

Is there any irony or frustration on your part that Richard Commey owns the IBF crown that you defeated him for?

No. I’ve taken on some of the tougher fights in my career, like the one against Mikey Garcia, who is a great champion. After that, Mikey vacated the title and it was up in the air.

Commey fought his way back into position to get another shot at the title and he won, which is well-deserved.

For the Barthelemy fight, you returned to Toledo after training with Kevin Cunningham in Florida for Garcia -- what precipitated the change?

I was just trying to get things back on board with my father. It was a great thing to go and get some help from Kevin, but there were a few things I felt were missing and I wanted to take it back to where I started.

My Dad’s always been in my corner. Together, my Dad and I are both gonna get this thing back on track. Any time you’ve seen us with another trainer it’s because they’re giving us help.

How hungry are you to get back into the win column and who are you targeting for a return?

Al Haymon and I have talked, and he’s told me to stay by the phone. He said, “Keep training, and we’ll have something good for you.” 

Any time I step into the ring from now on, I just wanna fight champions. I love winning, so any opponent I get I’ll be ready. It’s gonna be a big fight.

Would you like a rematch with Commey, and if Gervonta “Tank” Davis rose to 135, would he be an option?

No. Tank’s my little brother, so that’s off the table. I would never even talk about that. But Commey’s a tough, rugged champion that I’ve beaten, and he’s earned the belt. Since he’s one of the champions in my weight class, we can do it once again.

Are there any other specific champions whose styles appeal to you, and would you consider rising in weight, say, to 140 or 147?

Well, I’ve already said Commey at 135, and then there is Vasyl Lomachenko, who has two of the other titles.

Either one of them is a great fight. Of course, there are a lot of talented champions at 140 and 147, but I would listen to Al and go from there.

For a closer look at Robert Easter Jr., check out his fighter page.

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