In a little over a week, fans will see the return of a fighter that has almost been forgotten about in the super featherweight division. Twenty-eight-year-old O'Shaquie Foster (18-2) makes his long-awaited return to the ring to face undefeated contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (18-0) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The event, appropriately named “Evolution”, will be hosted by the new promotion company Probellum and it takes place in Dubai, UAE.
The story of O'Shaquie Foster has more speed bumps than a subdivision in an expensive neighborhood. He's been through the wringer both in and out of the squared circle, but he keeps soldiering on. I first saw Foster fight on a ShoBox card in Sept 2018, where he fought then-undefeated prospect Jon Fernandez. The fight seemed to be the coming-out party for Fernandez, but instead, it became one for O'Shaquie. After the decision victory, things seemed to start picking up for him, even though he had two losses very early in his career.
In 2019, Foster fought against Fatiou Fassinou (28-11-3), Jesus Bravo (19-1-1), and Albert Mercado (16-3-1). At this point, Foster's career was gaining momentum, and most in the boxing world were paying attention to what he was doing and how he was moving. In late 2020, Foster was given another opportunity to display his skills to a large audience as this fight would be on the NBC Sports hosted show Ring City.
O'Shaquie faced the tough, veteran fighter Miguel Roman (62-13). Foster's skills were on full display, and he was too much for Roman, which led to a ninth-round knockout. It seemed like a title or something close to it was quickly approaching, but Foster then ended up in court battling his former promoter Dibella Entertainment.
While going through the legal process, O'Shaquie was on the shelf, and there wasn't much he could do until a decision was made on his case. When asked about that time he was away, Foster told NYF, “I was trying to adjust to COVID and the new world that we are in. I was staying in the gym and remaining positive. We got everything squared away, and both sides moved forward, but yea, that was a big part of the year. I definitely couldn't fight and had to wait it through, but that's how it is.” Foster didn't do what most people these days are known for, and that's throwing their former promoter under the bus, which says a lot about his character.
O'Shaquie Foster was making a ton of money before his legal battle, so how did he maintain while not fighting and generating income? Foster said after taking a deep breath,” It was tough not being able to make any money, but I have a great team behind me along with great support from my manager Keith Mills and my coaches. They help me get through it.” Team Shock stood by him while working on a new promotional home for the Houston native.
That home ended up being the new startup promotion company Probellum. The company is run by Richard Schaefer, who made his name while working at Golden Boy Promotions and his imprint, RingStar. I'm sure O'Shaquie had different offers on the table, so I was interested to know why he ultimately decided to go with Probellum. Foster told NYF, “Probellum gave me a great opportunity. I like everything that was presented and also that they are doing it at a global level. If they need to work with either side of the street, I'm confident they will make something happen. That was a big part of it.” Foster continued, “We should be in the ring at least three times this year if everything goes as planned.”
Shifting the conversation to training camp and his current preparation for his next fight, I asked him about the team in charge of doing so. O'Shaquie told NYF, “I trained out of Main Street Boxing Gym in downtown Houston, TX. My head coach is Bobby Benton, and we brought on Dwight Pratchett, a great coach, and Aaron Navarro. The team is strong and silent. I love what we are doing.” Dwight Pratchett was a super featherweight who went (16-9) and went by the alias “too tough.” So, what did Dwight add that Foster didn't have in previous camps? O'Shaquie said, “He brought experience, and it helped me sharpen my tools. Dwight fought Julio Cesar Chavez back in the day, so I wanted that knowledge and experience on my team.”
As we talked about his opponent Yaqubov, Foster didn't offer much other than a “crafty, Russian southpaw.” Although the fight isn't until the 19th, Team Foster were on a plane this past Monday heading to Dubai. It's a smart move because of the time difference so that he is at his peak at the right time. If all goes well in Dubai, Foster will more than likely face Robson Conceicao (17-1) in order to have the opportunity to fight the winner of Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Valdez. It's the roadmap that the WBC has laid out so O'Shaquie could be in line for a title shot either at the end of this year or the beginning of next. But first, he has to take care of the task at hand in Dubai.
What should we expect from O'Shaquie Foster on the 19th? Foster said, “Fireworks! We've been working, and I'm really excited to get back in the ring. I am ready to show everyone that I am here to stay.”
Given everything that O'Shaquie has gone through, there is a learning lesson and one that he wanted to share with all of the young fighters coming up in the sport. Foster told NYF, “Stay focused on your craft and do not allow the outside influences to pull you in. Don't let the stuff that looks fun or good to you pull you in, as it can trap you. Put smart people around you and those that have your best interest. Make sure they know what they are looking at when it comes to contracts and stuff.” Sage advice coming from a guy that has experienced his share of bumps in the road.
Lastly, before getting off the call, I asked O'Shaquie if he had the current super featherweight champions in front of him what he would say to them. Foster simply said, “I'm coming!”
My Three Cents
O'Shaquie Foster is a contender who is a real threat in the super featherweight division. Although he has been and continues to be overlooked, it's something that he is used to, and it doesn't bother him not one bit. He thrives on proving people wrong, and if all goes well for him, he will be in a title fight with one of your favorite fighters, so stay tuned.
Will March 19th feature the continued rise of O'Shaquie Foster, or will the virtual unknown Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov pull out the victory? Check your local listings on the AXStv network on March 19th to see this super featherweight showdown.