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Robert Easter Jr. vs. Luis Cruz – Official weights

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By Eric Baldwin: IBF World lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (18-0, 14 KOs) successfully weighed in at 134 pounds on Thursday for his title defense against #15 IBF Luis Cruz (22-4-1, 16 KOs) on Friday on Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV from the Huntington Center, in Toledo, Ohio. Cruz weighed in at 134 ½ pounds.

This is going to be a good fight. Easter Jr. is one of the biggest punchers in the 135 pound division right now, and he’s facing a pure slugger in 31-year-old Cruz, who doesn’t know how to take a backwards step. Someone is going to get knocked out in this fight.

(Photo credit: Leo Wilson/Premier Boxing Champions)

Easter Jr. has never tasted defeat before, but he had his moments of vulnerability in his last fight against Richard Commey last September in getting knocked down once. Easter Jr. did eventually win the fight by a 12 round split decision, but it was a very close one that was decided in the last three rounds. Commey had little trouble landing his big power shots against Easter. The main difference between the two of them was Easter’s better engine in the last quarter of the fight.

In weights for the co-feature, WBA Super World bantamweight champion Rau’Shee Warren (14-1, 4 KOs) weighed in at 116 pounds for his first defense of his WBA title against the dangerous #1 WBA Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18 KOs). For his part, the 33-year-old Zhakiyanov weighed in at 116 ½ pounds.

Warren, 29, won back his WBA Super World bantamweight title last June with a 12 round majority decision win over Juan Carlos Payano. Warren was able to use his boxing skills to out-box Payano in the fight, and win a close decision. It came down to the accurate punching of Warren.

Zhakiyanov is a much different type of fighter than anyone Warren has faced at the pro level. Zhakiyanov is a huge puncher, who punches more like a featherweight than a bantamweight. Zhakiyanov comes from Kazakhstan and he’s knocked most of his opponents during his 10-year pro career. Zhakiyanov’s only loss since turning pro was to Sakhib Usarov in losing an eight round unanimous decision in October 2008. Usarov is a very good fighter and still unbeaten at 21-0 today. There’s no shame in Zhakiyanov losing to him.

Zhakiyanov, 5’7”, will have a 2 ½” height and reach advantage over Warren to go along with his advantage in power. This is going to be a very hard fight for Warren to win. He needs to be prepared for what will likely be a grueling fight. Zhakiyanov has a lot of power for a fighter from the bantamweight division.

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