Fighter of the Month: O’Shaquie Foster made a major breakthrough
The process of selecting a Boxing Junkie Fighter of the Month for February was difficult.
Amanda Serrano was a good candidate after outpointing Erika Cruz to finally add “undisputed champion” to her long list of accomplishments on Feb. 4. Mauricio Lara made a strong impression by taking out Leigh Wood to win his first title on Feb. 18 in the U.K., hostile territory. And Subriel Matias and Badou Jack deserved consideration after their title-winning efforts this past Saturday.
However, based on the level of opposition combined with the stakes, the winner is O’Shaquie Foster.
Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) capped an impressive comeback from a rough stretch in the mid-2010s by outclassing previously unbeaten two-division champion Rey Vargas to win the vacant WBC 130-pound title – his first – on Feb. 11 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Foster’s home state.
He calmly, cooly outboxed one of the most respected technicians in the game, sticking and moving to defuse everything Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) tried to do and win a wide unanimous decision. Boxing Junkie had nine rounds to three for Foster.
In other words, he made an accomplished opponent look ordinary.
Naysayers might point out that Vargas moved up from 126 pounds for the fight but he looked and evidently felt comfortable at 130. He suggested afterward that he might give up his featherweight belt and stay at junior lightweight.
Indeed, Foster turned in the performance of his career to finally make his way to the elite level of the sport after more than a decade as a professional.
“Man, it feels great. This journey has been crazy,” Foster said with a smile he couldn’t wipe off his face after the fight.
And, even though he’s 29, you get the feeling he’s just getting started. Can he beat the other top 130-pounders, guys like Oscar Valdez, Hector Luis Garcia, Shavkat Rakhimov and Emanuel Navarrete? We’ll see.
One thing seems certain, though: His technical ability and defense-oriented style will give even his best opponents problems, as we saw on Feb. 11.
Weekend Review: O'Shaquie Foster makes most of big opportunity
Photos: O'Shaquie Foster's breakthrough victory over Rey Vargas
O'Shaquie Foster outpoints Rey Vargas to become 130-pound titleholder