Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy to Clash for Vacant Lightweight Titles
The vacant IBO and WBA lightweight titles will be on the line this Saturday, as former champions Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy battle in a 12-round boxing match.
Updated: April 25, 2019 • 8:20 AM ET
Las Vegas will host this weekend's fight between Easter Jr. and Barthelemy.
Former champions Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy will battle for the vacant IBO and WBA lightweight titles this Saturday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Easter is coming off a unanimous decision loss in a unification bout to Mikey Garcia last July. Not only did Easter lose the fight, he also lost the IBF lightweight title and his unblemished record (21-1, 14 KOs). The 28-year-old Easter, however, is ready to get back to his winning ways.
“I’m just hungry and eager to get back in there and show my fans that nothing has changed,” Easter recently said via The Toledo Blade. “I just got hungrier and more focused.”
Easter, a Toledo native who successfully defended the IBF belt three times, finds himself right back in the mix for a title despite coming off a loss.
“It’s very big,” Easter said. “It’s something I knew would happen. I put myself in that position to fight for these big fights and these world titles.”
Easter has key victories over Javier Fortuna, Denis Shafikov, Luis Cruz and Richard Commey. He’s ready to add another big victory to his resume to become a champion once again.
“I train for every fight like it’s a big fight,” Easter said at a recent media day. “This time, it really is a big fight. I train hard for every fight, no exceptions.
“I expect Rances to come out and fight. He’s an awkward, crafty fighter who likes to put up a fight. It’s not really about what I expect from him though, it’s about what I’m going to do in there. It’s going to be my tempo.
“It’s big for me to fight for a title and it’s something I put myself in position for with the way I’ve always fought. If I don’t get the knockout, I’m going to beat him down for 12 rounds.”
Barthelemy is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Robert Frankel in December. The win was a great rebound for the Cuban fighter after losing to Kiryl Relikh by unanimous decision for the WBA light welterweight title in March 2018, which was also the first loss of his career. Barthelemy (27-1,14 KOs) is a former two-weight champion, having held the IBF super featherweight and lightweight titles.
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Aside fighting Easter on Saturday, the 32-year-old Barthelemy still hopes to get another crack at becoming a three-weight world champion.
"The title is my motivation,” Barthelemy recently told BoxingScene.com. “It provides a big motivation but it doesn't take away my desire to get a title at 140 pounds as well. It is a dream of mine to become a three-division champion, so I definitely still want to go back to 140 and get the title there too.”
Barthelemy has key victories over Relikh, Mickey Bey, Denis Shafikov, Fernando David Saucedo and Argenis Mendez. He’ll attempt to make history for his country on Saturday with a victory over Easter.
“The ultimate goal is to become the first Cuban fighter to become a three weight world champion,” Barthelemy said via BoxingInsider.com. “That is something that is very special to me.”
Saturday’s co-main event will be a WBC junior welterweight title eliminator between Viktor Postol and Mohamed Mimoune.
Postol (30-2, 12 KOs) is coming off a decision victory over Siar Ozgul in November, but has lost two of his last four fights to Josh Taylor and pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford. The 35-year-old Ukrainian fighter, who has notable wins over Lucas Martin Matthysse, Ignacio Mendoza, Henry Lundy and Demarcus Corley, has a chance to get back into the title picture this weekend with a win over Mimoune.
The 31-year-old Mimoune has won 10 straight fights, most recently defeating Franck Petitjean by unanimous decision in October. The win was the French fighter’s first successful title defense of the IBO light welterweight title after winning the belt in January 2018 over Emiliano Dominguez Rodriguez.