Errol Spence Jr. entered Kell Brook’s home turf of Sheffield, England, last May, broke Brook’s left orbital bone and scored an 11th-round knockout to take away his IBF welterweight belt in front of about 27,000 fans who weren’t exactly in Spence’s corner.
The new champ stepped into more familiar surroundings Saturday night, making his first title defense in his third fight at Barclays Center, about 45 miles from his original home turf. Spence was born on Long Island and spent his first two years in Brentwood before moving to Texas. He still has relatives here.
So here was the 28-year-old southpaw fighting in the main event against Lamont Peterson, a 33-year-old former IBF super lightweight champ and WBA secondary welterweight titleholder.
Spence put on a good show in the Showtime bout, administering a beating. Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, finally stopped the fight. Referee Harvey Dock waved his arms to end it one second into the eighth round.
TKO for Spence. Still the undefeated champ.
“I didn’t know I would dominate like that,” Spence said. “I expected to get the knockout, but this was a great performance.”
Spence improved to 23-0 with 20 KOs. The 2012 U.S. Olympian would love unification in the division.
“I want Keith Thurman,” Spence said. “He has two of the belts [WBC and WBA] and we both have big names. It’s an easy fight to make and I want it.”
Spence hit Peterson with a left to the head in the fifth round and Peterson went down. He got up. But the crowd of 12,107 grew loud, sensing Peterson was in trouble. Still, he survived the round.
The swelling was clearly visible over both of Peterson’s eyes after the sixth. One more round of punishment and it was over. Spence had claimed every round on all three scorecards.
Peterson dropped to 35-4-1. He will consider retirement.
“That’s something that I would have to think about in the next few weeks,” Peterson said.
Easter keeps title, earns split decision
Robert Easter Jr. stepped into the ring knowing he was going to step out with his IBF lightweight belt no matter the outcome. Javier Fortuna had stepped on the scale twice Friday and weighed down the magnitude of the fight, failing to make the 135-pound limit. That made it a non-title bout.
The 5-6 Fortuna proved to be a handful. The 5-11 Easter emerged with a split 12-round decision to stay unbeaten at 21-0.
“No one can beat me,” Easter said. “He just ran and held all fight. I apologize that I didn’t get the knockout, but the win is all that matters.”
Many fans booed the verdict.
“They booed because they know that I won this fight,” Fortuna said.
Staten Island’s Browne gets TKO
Marcus Browne’s fight didn’t even go one full round. The 27-year-old light heavyweight from Staten Island delivered a TKO against Francy Ntetu 2:15 in to move to 21-0 with 16 KOs.
“I need a world title shot,” Browne said. “I’m ready to take on any of the champions.”