By John Cudney
Robert Easter Jr and Denis Shafikov face-off Friday June 30th from the Huntington Center in Toledo Ohio for Easter’s IBF Lightweight title
Robert Easter Jr and Denis Shafikov are both world-class action fighters known for pressing offense at the expense of defense. Easter is making the second defense of his IBF Lightweight title and Shafikov is coming off back-to-back career best wins. When the bell rings for round 1, expect the hometown fans in the Huntington Center to roar for Easter as these two hungry and determined fighters go to war until one of them winds up on the canvas.
Range and size trouble big Denis, plus I think Easter has enough pop to keep Shafikov off him. That size and length advantage will eventually be telling in the mid to late rounds after a cagey opening. Easter will have to channel the hometown energy positively this time around, but I think Easter gets him late.
Josh Gilman: While I couldn’t confidently say Shafikov upset, I wouldn’t be shocked. Despite his height advantage, Easter fights like a smaller guy. I think Easter lacks the experience and ring IQ to deal with Shafikov’s activity and savvy. Final pick: Shafikov.
Gleb Kuzin: Shafikov is trained by Abel Sanchez, just like GGG. Shafikov is an offensive fighter, just like GGG. Shafikov is a Bashkir and Bashkirs eat horse meat and drink kumis, just like GGG. Do the math, Shafikov will take Easter’s head off.
Graeme Cross: Easter by a hair’s length.
John Cudney: I could honestly see this one going either way. Both fighters should be able to touch each other, but I think Easter will eventually be able to crack Shafikov’s chin and score a late stoppage or a clear win going into the scorecards. I wouldn’t be surprised if Easter has to overcome a KD over the course of the evening though.
Angelo Chagoy: Shafikov by decision.
Leo: IMO the smart money is Robert Easter Jr. If, for whatever reason, he decides to bang with Shafikov he’s going to find himself in a lot of trouble. If he uses his range effectively, keeping Shafikov at the end of the jab, he should be able to cruise to a tough but clear win. Shafikov has a lot of space to break through, but if Easter does what he usually does (bang when he shouldn’t), Shafikov could score at the least a KD. Final call: Robert Easter Jr gets a controversial win on the cards.
Final Tally: 4–3, advantage Easter.
Robert Easter vs Denis Shafikov: Expect Fight-of-the-Year Action was originally published in sundaypuncher on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.