Whether he loses Saturday night or not, Robert Easter, Jr., has already solidified his status as an icon for the people of Toledo.
Mr. Easter, who will face Javier Fortuna in New York City, has achieved a stardom that many Toledoans have sought but have rarely achieved.
Wise beyond his years, the 26-year-old Mr. Easter has embraced not only his status as a champion, but as an ambassador for the city of Toledo and a role model to its children.
“I was born and raised in The Mud. You feel?” he told The Blade. “Every time I fight, I do it for the people in Toledo.”
Mr. Easter does what he does, in particular, for Toledo’s youth.
According to Javonte Anderson, a Blade reporter who spent several weeks with Mr. Easter recently, countless children point to Mr. Easter’s banners hanging in Glass City Boxing Gym as inspiration for what they wish to accomplish: “They want to be like Easter.”
Prior to Mr. Easter’s rise, local Toledo children did not have many contemporary success stories to inspire them. They certainly did not have a charismatic athlete rapidly ascending to the pinnacle of his craft to idolize.
Now, Mr. Easter, who cites the guidance of his father as a major factor in his success, has proven that Toledo’s youth can achieve just as much as their peers in larger cities. All that you need is encouragement and a goal.
“You got to live it, you got to breathe it, you got to eat, sleep it, live your dream,” said Mr. Easter, “and that’s what I did.”
Keep punching, champ.
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