Undefeated Edinburgh super lightweight boxers Jason Easton and Lewis Benson are set to renew their rivalry in the ring next year.
The duo last fought in March 2015 at the Scottish Amateur Championships when Lochend’s Benson was given the nod by a split decision to land his fourth national title.
Both men, however, have since switched to the professional ranks enjoying whirlwind starts to their careers with Benson winning seven consecutive fights since making his debut as an MGM fighter last September. Easton, meanwhile, remains undefeated from his eight bouts and is the current Celtic champion having stopped Welshman Rhys Saunders in the second round at Meadowbank in October.
The prospect of the two going head to head for the first time as paid athletes is an intriguing one and a match up that has grown arms and legs in recent weeks. Benson’s management team, MGM Scotland, revealed last weekend that their boxer was ready to put pen to paper on a deal for the 25-year-olds to box on Saturday, March 11, at Meadowbank.
However, Craigmillar’s Easton, who is managed by Billy Nelson, is already tied into a three-fight contract that will keep him busy during the early part of next year – although he wouldn’t be drawn on just what these bouts entail.
“We’ve explained to their side I’ve got a three-fight deal in place fighting next month, February and March,” Easton explained. “Billy actually offered them it in October on the Josh Taylor undercard but they don’t want to have Cyclone [Promotions] promoting it. They are dead set on it being on an MGM show, which I can understand.
“If Benson keeps winning then we can hopefully get it on. It’s a fight I definitely want but to be honest it’s not something I’m really interested in just now as I’ve got these three fights on my radar which are really exciting.
“Lewis and I have spoken on the phone about it, we get on so I don’t want us to fall out over it. We both respect each other and it’s a fight we know is going to happen sooner than later. We’d sell a lot of tickets that’s for sure. But things keep getting stirred up on social media from other parties and to be honest I’m sick of it.”
Easton, though, believes he has come a long way since his opponent’s arm was raised almost 19 months ago.
“I’ll put my title on the line that’s for sure,” he said. “It can’t just be a straight fight between us. If I’m told I’ll be fighting him in April then brilliant.
“It’s 4-2 to him from our time as amateurs. He’s won by a majority decision in all of them. I don’t think I’ve beaten him since 2009 though which isn’t a good record. But I still believe I’m better than him and I think I’m a lot more suited to the pro game. I’ve come on a lot more and I think I could stop him.”
Benson isn’t one to shirk a challenge and despite ligament damage sustained to his right hand during his last win over Poland’s Lukasz Janik at the beginning of October, he is ready to accept the fight with wide open arms.
“It’s a risk for both of us but I’d certainly take it,” he said. “It would be the biggest fight in the city barring someone boxing Josh Taylor. My team believe I’ll win the fight and his team will feel the same about him. But there’s been a lot of stuff said recently and I won’t let anyone say stuff about me on Twitter.
“I’ve been given the go-ahead to start punching from January 3 so I’ll be looking to kick on from then. I’ll be fighting in March regardless. Maybe Jason and I will fight in April, perhaps the summer, who knows.”
Benson, however, disputed his rival’s suggestion that the current scoreline stands at 4-2 in his favour.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a 4-2 record in my favour, I’d class it as 3-0 because we’ve boxed three times at senior and I’ve won them all,” he stressed. “The fights he won back then we were just kids so that’s nothing to me. I wouldn’t see that changing in the pros as there are just some people out there where you’ve got their number and I believe I’ve got his.
“He can say all he wants but every time I’ve stepped up to the plate. He’s got these three fights early so good luck to him, I hope he wins them. We’ve asked for the fight so let’s wait and see. It’s got to happen.”