Eastman rapidly returning to world title mix

19.04.07 - Former British, Commonwealth and European Middleweight champion Howard Eastman sees victory over Evans Ashira for the vacant Commonwealth Middleweight Title at the Dudley Concert Hall tomorrow night as a further step towards a third world title challenge. A win on the Hennessy Sports and event, being covered live by Sky Sports, will also see ‘The Battersea Bomber’ claim back the second of the titles he relinquished in order to challenge then undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins in February 2005..

Eastman won back the British crown with a stunning knock out of old friend and fellow south Londoner Richard Williams in December. He is rapidly moving back to the top level where he clearly belongs.

The Hennessy Sports boxer has only ever suffered setbacks against world-class operators. For Eastman, each occasion was controversial.

His first defeat came via a disputed points decision to American William Joppy for the WBA title in 2001. He was then beaten again on points by ring legend Bernard Hopkins in 2005.

Germany-based Arthur Abraham – now the IBF champion – got what appeared to most to be a hometown verdict over him five months later, before Colombian Edison Miranda was awarded a controversial seventh round stoppage last year.

Eastman, who had badly hurt Miranda in the previous round of their world title eliminator, insists he was never hurt.

“I want a rematch with the likes of Miranda and Abraham,” said the ‘Battersea Bomber’, who has stopped 35 opponents in 45 fights and a 13-year career.

“I don’t believe that I lost to them and I was robbed, just like I was when I fought William Joppy. I would love to fight him again too.

“Bernard Hopkins was supposed to be the undisputed champion when I fought him, but he just ran for 12 rounds and didn’t put up a fight.

“There should have been a rematch with him. Instead he fought Jermain Taylor, twice.”

He continued: “I need to be fighting this calibre of opponent. Ashira is a two-time world title challenger so this is a good fight me.

“I still want to win a world title to accomplish all my goals.

“I will fight as long as I can because I love boxing. Look at Bernard Hopkins – he is still fighting and he’s over 40. You can go on as long as you want if you are physically and mentally fit.

“I still want to box the top guys and they should have fought me long ago. Hopefully I will be back in the world mix after this one.”

“I’m the middleweight champion of the world in waiting… but not for much longer. I’m more dangerous than I was before.”

Both Eastman and Ashira made the weight at the first time of asking this afternoon. Eastman scaled 11 stone 5lb 8oz, whilst Ashira stepped on at 11 stone 5lb.

Article posted on 19.04.2007

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