Undefeated IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. is set to make his first defense and he will be defensing his title as a headliner on television.
Easter will face off against Luis Cruz on February 10 in front of his hometown fans in at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. That fight will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on Bounce TV. Easter said he is fulfilling a dream of fighting in front of his hometown as a world champion.
"Being able to headline a big fight in my hometown after winning a championship is a dream come true," Easter said. "My first dream was to win the world title, and now I get to defend it in front of my people."
Even though Cruz is getting a world title shot, he is not exactly coming in with a ton of momentum. In his last eight fights, the 31-year-old has won three, tied once and lost four bouts.
Cruz cited his native Puerto Rico's long history of boxing world champions as one of the biggest motivators heading into this fight.
"This is a great opportunity for me, and I'm planning on putting on my best performance," Cruz said. "I am going to fight for my home of Puerto Rico and become another world champion from the island. I know that Easter is a good fighter and he will have the fan support, but I am already training harder than I ever have. This is going to be an exciting fight, but I don't expect it to go the distance."
Easter first won the title against Richard Commey on the undercard of the Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergio Mora fight for the WBA middleweight title earlier this year. Also on that card is a bantamweight world title unification bout between WBA and IBO champion Rau'Shee Warren and interim WBA bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov.