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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 23:51 GMT 00:51 UK
Eastman grinds out win
Howard Eastman
Eastman beat Elliott easily
European middleweight champion Howard Eastman was made to work hard before beating Jerry Elliott in a non-title fight in Nottingham on Friday.

Eastman outpointed the stocky Germany-based Nigerian 99-91 after 10 rounds.

"He had tremendous power and I tried to box and stay away from his strength," said Eastman.

The Briton had been set to fight Jorge Sendra, but the Spaniard was ruled out for failing to provide suitable medical evidence that he was fit to box.

"The change of opponent was no problem. We can adapt and we overcome these challenges," said Eastman.

"It was important to get 10 rounds under my belt and it was important to win. I'm happy."

Eastman was in control throughout the bout except for round five when Elliott embarked on a sustained attack which stung the Battersea fighter.

But Eastman was forced to be patient and earned his first knockdown in round nine.

The victory could line him up with a bout against 25-year-old Jermaine Taylor, with the winner of that contest likely to land a lucrative showdown with the undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins.

"Hopefully, that's the opponent [Jermaine Taylor] in our sights at present," said Eastman. "We'll take care of Taylor without any question."

The WBC has informed us that if Taylor pulls out Howard will automatically get to challenge Hopkins
Mick Hennessy
Howard Eastman's promoter

Hennessy said: "In Howard you have, in my opinion, the only middleweight in the world who has proved he is capable of beating Hopkins.

"Eastman v Taylor would be a tremendous showdown between two of the best - a proven triple champion and a US golden boy.

"The only slight doubt I have about this fight happening lies with Taylor as he and his team have yet to take up my offer.

"Either way we have the situation covered because the WBC has informed us that if Taylor pulls out Howard will automatically get to challenge Hopkins."

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