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Robert Easter Needs Dance Partner, Javier Fortuna Gets The Gig

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THURSDAY UPDATE: Javier Fortuna will attempt to take the 135 pound strap away from Robert Easter Jr. on Jan. 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a source confirms to NYF.

That whole card is rounding into shape, and we already know the main event, which pits young gun and pound for pound riser Errol Spence against consummate tough-out Lamont Peterson, with Spence’s IBF welterweight title being the object of affection up for grabs.

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Robert Easter has been a bit under the radar as a champion at 135 pounds and the Ohioan can kick off the New Year with a resolution to kick up mad buzz, starting with a Jan. 20 title defense at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The 26 year old Easter holds a 20-0 mark and snagged the then vacant IBF bauble with a win over Richard Commey. Defenses against solid sorts Louis Cruz and Denis Shafikov—no slouches but not the sorts of types who earn someone who beats them props galore— followed.

So, will his 1-20-18 dance partner be someone who can elevate Easters’ visibility if he gets past him?

Fellow titlist Jorge Linares isn’t a possibility, as it’s not politically tenable, with Easter in the Haymon camp and Linares a Golden Boy boxer. Plus, he’s booked into a Jan. 27 clash, versus Mercito Gesta.

Mikey Garcia holds a belt, the WBC’s, and he prizes his free agent status promotionally. But he’s not at the co-headliner level, and Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson top the Jan. 20 Dibella Entertainment event.

The WBO belt left behind by Terry Flanagan will be vied for by Ray Beltran and not we don’t think a Haymon guy in February.

The IBF has their number one slot open with Ray Beltran at No. 2, so it’s fair to say the Top Rank boxer is enjoying his leverage and won’t be an entry in the fight Easter sweepstakes.

So, a name we hear popping up is Javier Fortuna, rated No. 1 by the WBC, and not, in fact, rated by the IBF. He’s 33-1-1, is the Dominican, and promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz. He’s won four straight, three against unbeatens, since Jason Sosa grabbed (by TKO11) the WBA strap Fortuna had scored, at Barclays, against Bryan Vasquez in May 2015.

I ran that by someone who’d know truth from fiction in sifting rumors.

The verdict?

I was left thinking that we get Easter versus the Dominican lefty Fortuna in January. It should be announced, whatever the matchup is, quite soon .

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Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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