You hear both sides of it. That fighting around that homebase is a beautiful thing, that it is a pride and joy to do your thing in front of friends and fam. And the you hear that it can be a distraction, a drain, that it's too hard to stay focus on the main task at hand.
I asked O'Shaquie Foster, age 25, a 14-2 pugilist, who'll be gloving up against Fatious Fassinou on Feb. 23 to touch on the next fight, and the goods and the bads with fighting at home.
“I'm fighting Fassinou, a durable guy but he has been fighting tough opponents lately,” the super featherweight told me. “I'm in tough with Fassinou. I'm sure that's why my team picked him. He is always in shape and brings it every time. I'm expecting a great fight! I've been putting in major work lately, getting stronger everyday. It definitely shows in the gym. I'm from Orange so I'm excited my next fight is in my home area, Beaumont. Everyone knows me in Orange so I get a lot of love there. Since moving to Houston and winning the WBC Silver (against Jon Fernandez last September, UD10) title even more people recognize me and my accomplishments these days. When I go out people come up to me and say they watched my fight on TV and wish me luck in the future. “
He can imagine the buzz conjured if and when he snags a world title belt… “Things have been real good lately since winning the title, I can't complain. I will tell you this, there has been much more interest from sponsors since the WBC ranked me #10 in the world. I never look past my opponents especially a solid guy like Fassinou. But once I beat him I am ready for anyone at 130 pounds. Prospects, contenders, champions, I want them all!”
OK, so is it all good news about the homecoming fight? Any downside to fighting so close to home?
“My entire family will be at my fight. Brothers, sisters, cousins, it's going to be crazy. This is definitely a dream come true. Most fighters from small cities don't get to fight at home. I'm getting the chance to have a major event in my area and I will not disappoint. I turned down offers for more money just to fight at home. It's going to mean the world to me when Orange, Beaumont, Port Arthur and Houston comes out to support me. These people have been rooting for me since I was working to make the Olympic team. Now I have the opportunity to give them what we fell short of in 2012. I know I should have made that team and been on a major platform like the other Olympians, but now is my time to shine and nothing is going to get in my way.”