O’Shaquie Foster is one of the most dangerous contenders in the 130-pound division today. That the 25-year-old isn’t already wearing one of the four major world championship belts in the junior lightweight division is something Foster plans to rectify as soon as possible.
“Anybody in the weight class, WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF… it doesn’t matter. I want all that smoke,” said Foster when he detailed his plans for world domination a couple of months ago, and he was saying the same thing the next time I saw him.
..who lives in Houston and trains Main Street Boxing and Muay Thai Gym under Bobby Benton and Aaron Navarro, said he hopes to lure either Miguel Berchelt, Gervonta Davis, Tevin Farmer or Jamel Herring into the ring soon because he believes he’s already the best fighter in the division and all he really needs is the chance to prove it.
“If I could choose, I would fight anyone of them guys,” said Foster.
Foster, 25, originally from Orange, Texas, is currently ranked the No. 9 contender by the WBC. After a rough start to his professional career that included him basically training himself as well as a prison stint related to a shooting in Orange, Foster’s newfound dedication to boxing has put the fighter in a pretty good sport as of late.
While it’s easy for a fighter in Foster’s position to talk the talk, it’s another thing altogether to actually pull off the kinds of performances that suggest he might really be on the way to capturing a world title.
Foster has done exactly that over the last couple of years, most recently on July 17 in a stunning six-round knockout against power puncher Jesus Bravo in Costa Rica.
But because of Foster’s early career struggles, his journey reminds me a little of current IBF titleholder Tevin Farmer. Like Foster, Farmer’s position as a world champion right now indicates the fighter learned much about the world of professional boxing during the early part of his career, but through persistence of will and sheer determination, he has gone on to become one of the best fighters in the sport.
“Our path was a little different,” said Foster. “He didn’t have the extensive amateur background I had, so he kind of learned on the fly as a pro. I commend him for that. I respect it. That’s huge, to be able to lose four fights and then come back from that.”
Unlike Farmer, Foster was actually considered one of the best amateur boxers in the world at age 17. He came within just three points of making the 2012 US Olympic team, and where Farmer’s early losses have been attributed to him learning how to operate inside the ropes on fight night as a professional, Foster’s setbacks were mostly about how he was carrying himself outside the ring.
“Me, having an extensive amateur background, everybody knew my potential so when I took those first two losses, there was still hope for me,” said Foster.
Foster has an old-school mentality, something Farmer also seems to have (or at least probably had to have to come back from such a difficult start) and perhaps more present-day fighters should probably have, too.
“Back in the old days, losses were part of the game,” said Foster. “People came back stronger. Now, after Floyd Mayweather Jr., people look at it differently.”
But not Foster, who also possesses that same kind of throwback mentality about how the division’s current champions currently stack up against each other.
Foster said he thinks WBC titleholder Miguel Berchelt…
..deserves to be ranked No. 1 in the division right now compared to the three fighters with belts.
“He’s held the title down,” said Foster. “He’s had the most defenses. I haven't seen none of those other guys [with world titles] going after him. Tevin [Farmer) and Gervonta [Davis] are going after each other, but Berchelt is right there.”
Foster said he ranks WBA champ Davis at the No. 2 spot, Farmer right behind at No. 3 and WBO titleholder Jamel Herring at No. 4.
“Herring suffered two losses but he still became champion,” said Foster. “He’s a Marine. He’s a good dude. I was at the Olympic trials with him.”
And as to which of the four junior lightweight champions Foster said he’d would want to square off against in his next bout if suddenly he’d been granted a wish from a genie or something like that, despite Foster publically lobbying over the last month for a bout against Davis, Foster said he’d pick Berchelt because he considers the Mexican the top 130-pound champ based on his resume.
“Berchelt is no punk,” said Foster. “I just feel like his style is tailor-made for me.”
Berchelt picked up the WBC title in January 2017 by stopping Francisco Vargas. The 27-year-old has defended it five times over the last two years and is the longest-reigning titleholder in the division with the most total title defenses.
Regardless, Foster said he’d have no trouble lifting the title from Berchelt, and that he already envisions a showdown between himself and undefeated phenom Davis becoming a huge fight down the line.
“Berchelt is a great offensive fighter, but he has a lot of flaws,” said Foster. “To be honest, if I could get that fight next week, I would take it. I have the WBC silver. He has the full WBC title. I’d love to get that fight and take his belt and then let the fight with Gervonta [Davis] build up. I would want to let that build up. I think it would be one of the biggest fights in the future.”
And even against Davis, 24, from Baltimore, Maryland, a fast-handed southpaw who is also the youngest reigning American world champion in the sport today, Foster said he likes his chances.
“I believe in my skills,” said Foster. “I don’t feel like there’s anything in the ring I haven’t seen, and I can adjust to anything and anybody. I love fighting southpaws. Since I was eight years old, I’ve sparred against southpaws almost every day. That was my main sparring partner coming up. I know the ins and outs of fighting a southpaw, and I think I adjust to them really well.”