Eastman to face Ashira tonight


Eastman to face Ashira tonight

Press Release: Former British, Commonwealth and European middleweight champion Howard Eastman hopes a victory over Evans Ashira at the Dudley Concert Hall on Friday night will be a step towards a third world title challenge. Eastman won back the British crown with a stoppage of old friend and fellow south Londoner Richard Williams in December. He is rapidly moving back to the top level where he clearly belongs, and this fight will be for the vacant Commonwealth belt.

Eastman's 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 a verdict over him five months later, before Colombian Edison Miranda was awarded a seventh-round stoppage of Eastman last year.

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

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.”

Both Eastman and Ashira made the weight at the first time of asking this afternoon. Eastman scaled 159.5, whilst Ashira stepped on at 159.