TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - At age 26, Robert Easter Jr. has already made a name for himself in the boxing world.
His life changed back in September when he became the IBF Lightweight Champion of the world. Easter's next step is a title defense, right here in his hometown of Toledo.
For Easter, the journey to the title started at a young age. Growing up in Toledo, he watched his dad in the ring. From birth, he was destined to be in this position.
"It was something he put in me before I even came out the womb," Easter said. "I came out the womb in boxing gloves and growing up and going to the gym with him. I just fell in love with it."
His dad was his favorite boxer growing up and he followed in his footsteps.
Back in September, with his dad in his corner, Robert became a world champ.
"Man, it was ecstatic," said Easter "Something I knew was going to happen, which is win, and it was finally before me, so everything was just surreal. Becoming a real champion, it hit me."
Although he was in Pennsylvania at the time, Easter said it really didn't hit him until he was back in the place where it meant the most.
"All the emotions was there, but it didn't really hit me until we had the parade back in Toledo downtown. Seeing all those people come down and celebrate me and my winning, that's when it hit me," Easter said. "To see how many people and lives I touched in my city, Toledo, that's when it really hit me. And my dreams came true. I'm just living what I always dreamed of."
Easter says he learned a lot of life lessons in the Glass City, and it drove him to work harder. He hopes to be an example for people so that they can have a better life.
The training for Easter's February fight has been grueling: Swimming, running, sparring. All of it to prepare for one big night.
"When I work, I believe in if you don't walk out of the gym beat up, tired and feeling like you really haven't reached your peak, you really haven't did nothing... So every day I put in hard work to where I dang near fall out," said Easter. "I push myself to the limit, so come February 10th or whenever I fight, I will be ready and prepared for anything, because I push myself to that limit."
With every single punch, Easter leaves an impression on his opponents. People have seen Robert Easter Jr., the fighter, but behind the scenes, he's a very different person.
Easter has dreamed of a title fight in his hometown, and in four days, his dream will become reality.
"I can only imagine. Like I said, I have never been or seen videos of my city when I'm fighting, but I heard about it. I heard that they go crazy and everybody be glued in to the TV screens and the city be dang gone empty," Easter said. "I can just only imagine that night. A lot of excitement and people will be very excited and overwhelming, I can only imagine. Like I said, February 10th, we will see."