O’SHAQUIE Foster enters the Prudential Center ring tomorrow evening, defending his WBC super-featherweight title against Robson Conceição. The bout, against a former Olympic gold medallist, will serve as the co-feature to Shakur Stevenson’s contest with Artem Harutyunyan.

While the likes of Stevenson (a three-weight world champion no less) may take these occasions in their stride, or even slightly for granted, for a fighter like Foster, it’s been a long time coming, working his way to such a lofty position and now being in the discussion for immediate unification clashes with 130-pound rivals.

“I just need to go in there and be me. That’s the biggest thing. I’m fully healthy. So, everyone is going to see a different fighter than what they saw the last time I came out,” stated the 30-year-old Texan.

Foster is preparing for a stronger display, seemingly still disappointed with his performance in February, when he overcame maiden challenger Abraham Nova (below) on points.

“I couldn’t do what I wanted in that fight against Abraham Nova. I couldn’t move my feet like I wanted. But, no excuses. I’m going to go out and show the world that I’m levels above this guy,” said, ‘Ice Water’, before discussing next foe Conceição. 

 “I’ve had a long amateur career, so I’ve seen his style several times. We had great sparring partners that mimicked him. I’ve always been proud of my defense, so we’ll figure it out when we get in there.”

While he always had the talent, Foster needed to overcome personal demons and get his life together both in and out of the ring. Before O’Shaquie hit the big time, he boxed big-punching Spaniard Jon Fernandez in Oklahoma in 2018. Foster won that night by scores of 98-92 across the board. Is Fernandez surprised by what his conqueror has gone on to achieve, or did he always see that kind of potential bubbling before the surface?

“At the time when I faced O’Shaquie Foster, he wasn’t as well-known as he is now. But as soon as the fight finished, I knew he was a very, very good operator and that he was going to go on and fight for world honours and become world champion,” explained Fernandez, who fights Dalton Smith next for the European title.

“And also O’Shaquie Foster told me himself after the fight as well, that he had problems with his team before then, so that he had a new team and that he was advancing and he was going to start improving his game. And that’s obviously what happened.”

As quickly as Foster has turned his career around, his opponent tomorrow evening, Robson Conceição, just cannot seem to catch a professional break. World title losses to headliner Stevenson, as well as a previous controversy-tinged reverse to Oscar Valdez, stung hard.

Refusing to become downbeat, boxing Emanuel Navarrete to a draw at the close of 2023, Robson believes all good things come to those who wait and O’Shaquie Foster -who had to stage a late rally to win his WBC world title from Eduardo Hernandez in 2023- will see his own luck run out this time. 

“Things in my career weren’t necessarily easy. As an amateur, I had three opportunities to become a gold medalist. I see a similar path as a professional. And on Saturday, I’m going to be ready,” said Conceição.

 “I don’t look at these challenges as pressure. I look at them as motivation. So, I’m motivated, and I’m looking forward to this fight on Saturday. I’ll be the new world champion. No pressure. Just motivation.”


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