O’Shaquie Foster vs The World
They say fighters aren’t born but rather made inside boxing gyms through hours and hours of training. That’s probably true, though I think it’s important to note that sometimes the events a person experiences outside a boxing gym can also help mold him into a fighter.
O’Shaquie Foster never gave up–not when he was just 12 years old and tragically lost his mother to cancer, not when he was 17 years old and missed making the 2012 Olympic team by just three points, and not when he ended up doing time in Orange County jail over a shooting incident.
“I went through some ups and downs,” said Foster. “But I always knew my life had a purpose.”
Foster, 25, from Orange, Texas, moved 100 miles away from everything he ever knew and loved in order to follow his dream. Relocating to Houston helped Foster, nicknamed “Shockey” by his Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai Gym stablemates, let go of his past so he could focus on his future. A talented and accomplished amateur, Foster suffered mostly self-inflicted setbacks during the early part of his professional career because he wasn’t fully focused on his craft.
But after serving four months in county jail back in 2017, Foster made an important decision during one particularly dark night in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Foster decided then, in what some call a dark night of the soul, to let go of his old ways in the same way perhaps every person must do in order to become what the Universe intended. That it had to happen to Foster while he was trapped inside a cage is mostly just a superfluous detail to the greater story at hand.
Foster has been a new creation ever since. After suffering two losses early in his career, Foster rebounded to win five straight, most notably against previously undefeated Spanish prospect Jon Fernandez in September 2018.
The upset win was huge for his career. It put Foster on the map as a contender because he finally got to display what kind of fighter he is inside a boxing ring.
Now, Foster returns against Jesus Bravo on July 17 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The bout will be live streamed on UFC Fight Pass as part of Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing show. Foster will defend his WBC silver junior lightweight title against Bravo, and the fighter hopes to keep stringing wins together to be in position for a world title opportunity in the very near future. According to the WBC, Foster is the No. 10 ranked junior lightweight in the world.
“Hopefully, after I defend this belt, I’ll slide right in,” said Foster, who said he believes the current WBC titleholder, Miguel Berchelt, is likely on his way to vacating the belt in order to move up in weight.
A dream come true fight for Foster would be against Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz, who defeated Foster during the Olympic Trials back in 2012 to secure what Foster had hoped would be his spot. Foster said the computerized scoring system used by USA Boxing back then was to blame for him missing the chance to go to the Olympics and that he’d love nothing more than to get revenge on Diaz as a professional.
Diaz is currently ranked No. 2 by the WBC at 130 pounds after moving up from featherweight. He is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and a fight between the two would seem to make some sense. Both need wins over quality 130-pound opponents, and their amateur history would give the fight a promotable storyline.
If Foster had it his way, he’d fight Diaz for a world title, particularly if Berchelt vacates the WBC belt.
HE WANTS HOW MUCH SMOKE?
“Yeah, we can meet for that belt,” said Foster, practically salivating at the thought of getting his hands on Diaz again. “Whatever or whoever. It doesn’t matter. Anybody in the weight class, WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF… it doesn’t matter. I want all that smoke.”
Foster said the pivotal thing for him making through all the adversity was always having confidence in himself no matter what was going on or what kind of situation he had to face.
“I always believed in myself,” said Foster. “I always knew who I was.”
But surrounding himself with the right kinds of people has also been crucial to Foster’s newfound success. Not only did Foster have to let go of some people, places and things in Orange, but hooking up with the right manager and promoter has also been hugely helpful.
“You have to have a strong team of people that actually believe in you, you know?” said Foster. “My manager, Keith Mills, always stuck by me even when I wasn’t in the gym and wasn’t doing anything. He always believed in me, and Lou DiBella, my promoter, gave me a chance that a lot of promoters wouldn’t have given me because of those two losses.”
Foster is a case study in resilience. Early losses can really sink some fighters. Maybe they weren’t as good as they thought they were. Or maybe they just didn’t have the mental toughness to work things through. But Foster sees all the tough times he’s experienced in his life as just part of a journey that was preparing him for something special.
“It just drives me and keeps a chip on my shoulder. Every time I get in the ring, I won’t overlook anybody,” said Foster. “I always have something to prove.”