Howard Eastman - World Title Challenger

World Title Challenger

In April 2001, having put together a 31-0 (28 knockouts) record, he got a high profile fight defending his British and Commonwealth titles and challenging for the vacant European title against Robert McCracken, who had unsuccessfully challenged Keith Holmes for the WBC world title the previous year.

Eastman dominated the fight and dropped McCracken, stopping him in the 10th round.

Following this match, U.S. promoter Don King signed him up and in November 2001 he fought two-time champ William Joppy for the vacant WBA world title on a Lennox Lewis undercard in Las Vegas. Eastman narrowly lost a controversial majority decision despite knocking Joppy down in the final seconds of the twelfth round. After this fight Eastman sat out a year in Guyana and let his contract with King expire.

Eastman resurfaced in late 2002, under the Hennessy Sports promotional outfit, and trained by former opponent McCracken. Eastman scored two knockouts, over Chardan Ansoula and Hussain Osman, respectively. He regained his European title in January 2003 against the French man Christophe Tendil, whom he stopped in five rounds with a broken jaw, and regained his British and Commonwealth titles by knocking out Scott Dann in three rounds. He defended the European title twice more, stopping ex-world champion Hacine Cherifi in eight rounds in July 2003 and outpointing Sergey Tatevoysan in January 2004.

Now with a 40-1 record and highly ranked by all sanctioning bodies, Eastman finally got the forty year old undisputed Middleweight king Bernard Hopkins into the ring to defend his titles, in February 2005 in Los Angeles. Eastman was outsmarted and widely outpointed by Hopkins (110-119, 111-117, 112-116) who was making his historic 20th defence. Post-fight there was initial talk of a rematch, however as the scores suggest the contest for not close enough for this to materialize.

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