Robert Easter Jr cruises to victory using the jab
Former IBF lightweight champion Robert “ Bunny” Easter Jr returns against former World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) junior welterweight participant Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin. This is a good fight that both men need as the battle between two Ohio natives could provide some good fireworks. Additionally, a win could grant either man a push towards getting a world title shot down the line.
Easter lost his IBF title and suffered his first career defeat against four divisional champion Mikey Garcia in a lightweight unification in July 2018. He then got a chance to become a two-time champion by facing former two-division IBF champ Rances Barthelemy for the vacant WBA title. However, Easter walked away empty-handed after the fight was called a draw. He is now campaigning in the junior welterweight division and is coming off a sixteen-month layoff.
Martin fought in 2020, and is on a two-fight win streak since losing to unified champion Josh Taylor in the first round of the WBSS tournament in November 2018.
Both fighters have faced each other in the amateurs. Therefore, the opposing styles brought into the ring will not be one either has never faced before.
THE BEGINNING ROUNDS
The former world champion came out controlling the pace of the fight using the jab and his athleticism. He kept moving side-to-side ripping off combinations that kept his opponent at bay. Martin would try to get inside throwing punches to the body and forcing the former champion against the ropes. However, Easter would quickly tie-up and get the fight back to the center of the ring. The use of the jab and quick combination punches were key to the former champion controlling the fight.
Easter was determined to use his superior boxing skills early. Then the bout turned into an inside battle, which was advantage Martin. Easter not known for his inside fighting ability ran into hard body shots followed up with uppercuts consistently. However, the former champion closed out the beginning rounds landing quick punches to the body and head making a statement going into the middle rounds.
THE MIDDLE ROUNDS
Martin was not cutting off the ring or moving his head to avoid those sharp crisp jabs from his amateur rival. Easter went back to using the jab and superior footwork that continued to keep Martin off balance.
However, Blue Chip was finding some success when jabbing to the body forcing Bunny against the ropes, then following up with combinations to the body. However, the former champion would tie-up and once again go back to the jab and taking advantage of the lack of head movement from his fellow Ohio opponent.
Blue Chip’s corner was begging him to move the head and cut off the ring. regardless of the pleas, Martin continued to do the same thing round after round. He kept applying ineffective aggression while keeping his head on the center line.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Easter suffered a cut over the left eye from a clash of heads. Fans figured Martin would be motivated to change his strategy since he saw blood coming from his opponent but that wasn’t the case. The former champion had no problems continuing to take advantage of his opponent not cutting off the ring and making this an easy fight by avoiding a slugfest behind a pinpoint jab.
Martin showed no sense of urgency going into the championship rounds and did not attack like a fighter, although, clearly behind on the scorecards. Applying ineffective aggression with no head movement and kept eating jabs like skittles.
The former champion’s superior boxing skills were on full display as he schooled his amateur rival to an easy unanimous decision victory. Two judges scored the fight 118-110 and one judge had it 117-110.
Hall of fame fighter George Foreman said it best: “the fight is easy if you use the jab!” Easter will be tough to beat fighting this way, but he must continue to remain disciplined in fighting at range. He has been known to make fights very difficult in the past simply because he consistently gives up his height in reach. Given this performance, maybe he has finally turned over a new leaf!
By: Garrisson Bland