Robert Easter Jr dominated in his hometown IBF title defense tonight, but fellow Ohioan Rau’shee Warren dropped his WBA belt in his first defense, making for an up-and-down night for home fighters on PBC on Bounce.
Easter (19-0, 14 KO) did just about all he could to get overmatched challenger Luis Cruz (22-5-1, 16 KO) out, including dropping him in the 10th, 11th, and 12th rounds, but Cruz is tough if nothing else, and managed to make it through the final bell of the evening.
Scores for the fight were 117-108, 118-107, and 119-106, with Easter, who is now due to make a mandatory title defense against Denis Shafikov, a former two-time title challenger and a much more accomplished boxer than Cruz.
In the co-feature, Rau’shee Warren (14-2, 4 KO) dropped his WBA bantamweight title to Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18 KO) via split decision, on scores of 115-111, 116-110, and 111-115.
Zhakiyanov, who hadn’t fought since late 2015, was down twice in the opening round, but clawed his way back into the fight, and eventually ripped it away from the three-time Olympian.
Terrell Gausha also won on the card, defeating Luis Hernandez by wide 10-round decision. Gausha, a middleweight prospect whose career hasn’t progressed much in the last two years, improves to 20-0 (9 KO).