21.04.07 - By Scott Frake: Middleweight Howard Eastman (42-4, 35 KO’s) won a tough 12-round unanimous decision over Evans Ashira (26-3, 13 KO’s) to regain the Commonwealth belt on Saturday night at the Dudley Concert Hall, Dudley, in West Midlands, England. Eastman, 36, was impressive in the early rounds of the fight, showing an excellent mix of punches which he used to keep the hard punching Ashira off balance. However, in the later rounds, Eastman appeared to tire somewhat, turning the fight into a wrestling and clinching affair from rounds 10-12. Eastman was stunned by a huge left hook by Ashira in the 12th round, forcing him to clinch even more in the final thirty seconds.
Article posted on 21.04.2007
Other than that, Eastman mostly dominated the fight with his superior handspeed, ring movement and jab, all which kept Ashira at bay for most of the bout. Eastman, while winning most of the early rounds in a commanding fashion, he fell into his old practice of standing directly in front of his opponent and trading punches in the later part of the bout, thus allowing Ashira, 37, to land more often and turn the fight closer than it might have been otherwise.
For the first seven rounds, Eastman looked strong, showing excellent offensive skills by mixing jabs with hooks, uppercuts, straight rights that were thrown with beautiful form and power. Eastman, for the most part, dominated these rounds, keeping the slower, shorter Ashira at the end of his punches.
However, in rounds eight thru 12, Eastman slowed down, allowing Ashira back into the bout by standing directly in front of and being a stationary target. Still, though, Eastman was able to win most of these rounds by being more active and avoiding many of Ashira’s wild hooks, which he telegraphed badly. The final judges scores were 116-113, 116-112, 116-113, all for Eastman.