The Premier Boxing Champions are at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio for a card set to air on Bounce TV this Friday (February 10, 2017). The twin headliners feature two newly crowned world champions based out of Ohio, as Rau’shee Warren and Robert Eater Jr. defend their belts for the first time in a homecoming. Warren is 14-1 as a pro, but he has a massive amateur background after competing in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing, so he has more experience than his pro record lets on. His lone pro loss came in his first world title chance against Juan Carlos Payano. He avenged that loss in their rematch and took home the WBA world bantamweight title. This is his first title defense, but he gets to do it close to home, as Warren is a Cincinnati native. Warren’s opponent Zhanat Zhakiyanov of Kazakhstan is 27-1 and has put together a solid 21-fight winning streak fighting all over the world. He sat out all of 2016 after winning an interim version of the WBA title via split decision against Yonfrez Perez in Monaco back in November of 2015. Technically, the bout unifies Warren’s full title with the interim version of Zhakiyanov’s. As for Robert Easter Jr. (18-0), he was born and raised in Toledo, and this fight sees him returning to his hometown to make the first defense of his IBF world lightweight title. Easter Jr. won the belt after being given a split-decision victory over Richard Commey in a hard-fought contest last September on a PBC on SpikeTV broadcast. If Easter Jr. wanted a tough fight to prove his world title win was no fluke, this is not it on paper. Once upon a time, Cruz may have been a credible world title contender, but the 31-year-old has gone 3-4-1 in between stints of inactivity over the last five years. Cruz is sturdy, having only been stopped once in his career. He logged one match in 2016, earning a draw with Ivan Redkach. The promoter for the event is controversial boxer Adrien Broner, who has his own world title fight in Cincinnati next week. The card also features a second lightweight contest as once-beaten Jamel Herring takes on rugged veteran Art Hovhannisyan. Herring is attempting to bounce back from a 10th-round TKO loss to Denis Shafikov in his last outing back in July, and this fight with Hovhannisyan could pop up at the books as we get closer to fight time. Huntington Center – Toledo, Ohio – Bounce TV Lightweight – 12 rounds Luis Cruz +1500 Robert Easter Jr. -3000 Bantamweight – 12 rounds Zhanat Zhakiyanov +360 Rau’shee Warren -450
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