By: Sean Crose
“I’m just very excited to get back in the ring,” says Robert Easter, Jr, the former IBF lightweight titlist who will return to the ring after 15 months this Saturday. “I had a little rust at first but that’s gone away and I’m perfectly fine now. I was a little nervous thinking about how I was going to feel when I came back, but I’m good now. We’re training very well. We’re sparring a lot. I am more than ready.” Easter will be facing the 24-1 Ryan Martin this weekend, as part of the Adrien Broner-Jovanie Santiago card at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena.
“Martin is a tough opponent who is going to bring his A-game,” Easter says, “but I don’t see much difficulty in handling him and adjusting to anything he brings. I know he’s a hard worker. We fought each other in the amateurs so I know he probably has a chip on his shoulder. I really don’t think there’s much from that amateur fight that I can take away for this fight. We both have transitioned into the pros so he probably has a little more in his arsenal now, just like I do.”
One interesting aspect of Easter’s training camp has been the fact that he’s been working with Adrien Broner, the highlight of Saturday’s card. “There’s a lot I’ve learned from Adrien,” says Easter. “We train together every single day in the morning and in the afternoon. As soon as I turned pro, he took me under his wing. He taught me a lot of small things that you have to learn when you first come up from the amateurs into the pros. He was already a world champion by the time I came up so there was definitely a lot I could learn from him.”
Although he may not be widely known, Martin has lost on a single occasion, to Josh Taylor, no less. Although he’s never won against an opponent of note, a victory this weekend would raise Martin’s stock into the proverbial stratosphere. It’s something Easter is well aware of. “I’m not worried about who’s next,” he says. “I just have to be prepared for February 20. It’s been frustrating watching all these fights on TV. I don’t even watch it anymore. But it’s been motivating to me and I just have to stay focused and keep training like crazy.”
The Robert Easter-Ryan Martin fight is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be part of a live Showtime broadcast that begins Saturday at 9PM eastern time.