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Easter Jr. to return Jan. 27 at Toledo’s Huntington Center

Photo courtesy of Robert Easter Jr.'s Twitter account.

Robert Easter Jr. has a very public love-affair with the city of Toledo, and the feeling is mutual.

When Easter won a vacant IBF lightweight title on Sept. 9 against Richard Commey, he was feted with a parade and a key to the city. Now, Easter, as a way to reciprocate the affection, is set to make his first defense of his title on Jan. 27 at the Huntington Center in his hometown of Toledo against a yet-to-be determined opponent, Robert Easter Sr., his father, told RingTV.com on Monday. The bout is ticketed as a PBC on Bounce TV broadcast.

“We have a lot of people who are behind him in his hometown,” Easter Sr. said in a phone interview. “It means a lot to the city because they’ve been hearing about him, they saw and heard about him winning the title (in Reading, Pennsylvania). But now since he won the world title and the mayor had a parade for him at home — there’s a lot of people who want to see him.”

The Huntington Center is a $105 million multi-purpose venue, which seats 8,000-plus. Easter Sr. expects a packed house and said his son’s camp is choosing between “a couple names” that were suggested as opponents “and whichever accepts the fight we’ll know,” he said, declining to reveal the candidates. “Regardless of who it is — I have never turned down a fight for Robert,” he went on. “There is no one that I said, ‘No, we wouldn’t fight.’”

Easter said bantamweight titleholder Rau’Shee Warren and former marine and Iraqi veteran Jamel Herring are also scheduled to appear on the card. If Easter Jr. (18-0, 14 knockouts) prevails next month, he already has an idea who is next in line. Denis Shafikov edged Commey earlier this month in an IBF lightweight eliminator for the right to face Easter Jr., which is mandated for no later than June. Easter Sr. said no date has been discussed yet for the bout.