O’SHAQUIE FOSTER’S life and boxing career has been underpinned by resilience. Just over six years ago, “Shock” was banged up in his hometown of Orange, Texas, seemingly destined for a life spent looking over his shoulder. While serving four months in a correctional facility, Hurricane Harvey simultaneously ripped through his community leaving very little for him to return to. But out of this darkness came a spark of defiance.
Alongside his inmates, surrounding a modestly sized television, Foster witnessed Terence Crawford beat Julius Indongo to claim super-lightweight supremacy and, from that moment, was adamant he was going to achieve his own greatness in the sport of boxing.
“It hit me there and then – I wasn’t going to let a few bad decisions waste my potential,” he told Boxing News from inside his gym in Houston, Texas. “I was so close to ruining my life beyond repair, so I knew that I was going to have to make changes.”
And that he did. Sitting on a 10-2 (7) record, Foster packed up his bags and moved more than 100 miles to Houston where he began building the foundations for a better future. Bobby Benton took the reins as his head coach and so began a winning streak of 10 fights that he hopes will become 11 when he meets Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez 34-1 (31) in Cancun, Mexico. Saturday’s clash marks his first WBC title defence and once again underlines Foster’s willingness to do things the hard way.
“I’ve been keeping my eye on Rocky [Hernandez] for a while now, thinking that this fight would eventually come my way,” he continued. “We’ve both been under the same promotion before and it’s a fight that has always interested me.
“Travelling to Mexico doesn’t phase me in the slightest. I am used to being the underdog throughout my career and coming in as the away fighter. I’ve fought in Costa Rica and Dubai in my last five fights, so this isn’t anything different for me to worry about.
“We’re expecting the typical come-forward Mexican style on Saturday from Hernandez. He’s tough, can hit hard and has an excellent left hook. But I believe that at this moment in time I am one of the best defensive fighters on the planet – and I proved that in beating [Rey] Vargas comfortably – so if we get things right, I should be able to deal with whatever he [Hernandez] throws my way.”
Foster prides himself on evasiveness inside the ring. Unsurprisingly, he grew up idolising Floyd Mayweather Jnr and at the age of 14 spent a year alongside Roger Mayweather and his son training under the Las Vegas lights. With this, albeit brief schooling under his belt, “Shock” believes that the sky’s the limit in the fight game and is adamant that he will continue to keep all doors open.
“I didn’t get into boxing to reach that ‘cash-out’ moment,” the 30-year-old explains. “I am in the game for the long haul and want to stay active – fighting three times a year if possible. I know I am good enough to keep fighting and keep winning, so why not test myself?”
“I’d love to go up to 140 lbs eventually, and possibly even 147 like Floyd, building a legacy as I go, but there are still big fights for me at super-featherweight over the next couple of years.”
“Joe Cordina is of course a fight that I want. If I am being honest, it has gotten personal now between us. If he wants to use words like ‘bitch’ when he’s talking about me and call my manager a ‘bum’ then he’s going to have to accept the consequences when we come face-to-face.”
Cordina 16-0 (9) holds the IBF tirnket and has exchanged social media messages with Foster on a number of occasions regarding a possible bout. Foster’s manager, Keith Mills, confirmed to Boxing News that “while we agreed terms with Matchroom in principle, no contract was ever received.”
“I just don’t think Cordina wanted to fight us at that time,” Foster added. “He claims that we priced ourselves out of the fight, or didn’t want to travel to the UK, but that’s crazy! The truth gets masked when everyone just starts shouting on social media.
“At the end of the day, it’s an easy fight to make – there are no roadblocks on my side. I am a free agent still and have no problems coming to the United Kingdom in 2024. And mark my words, I am going to knock him out.”
The pair fight within a week of each other with Cordina heading to Monte Carlo to defend his title against Edward Vazquez on November 4. Will Foster be watching?
“Of course. He hasn’t impressed me much recently and I think he’s going to have a tough night against Vazquez – we have sparred before and he’s a solid guy. But none of this matters unless I get past Hernandez on Saturday.”
“Expect total domination on Saturday,” he concludes. “I am out to show that when it comes to skill and all-round talent, I am one of the top guys in the sport. And then, Cordina, I’m coming!”