O’Shaquie Foster outboxes, drops Abraham Nova to win split decision

O’Shaquie Foster stayed the course.

The 130-pound titleholder got off to a slow start against challenger Abraham Nova, who outworked him over the first several rounds Friday night at Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.

However, Foster took control by mid-fight, put Nova down in the 12th and final round, and won a split decision, allowing him to retain his belt.

One judge scored it for Nova, 114-113, but the other two had Foster winning, 116-111 and 115-112. Boxing Junkie also had it 116-111 for Foster.

“I’m a 12-round fighter,” Foster said afterward. “And I know how to make adjustments through the fight. He came on strong in the beginning but I found my rhythm and I found his timing and started picking it up. …

“It wasn’t my best performance but I got it done.”

Foster (22-2, 12 KOs) was coming off a dramatic victory in October, when he stopped Eduardo Hernandez with 22 seconds remaining to pull out a fight he was losing on the cards.

He didn’t wait quite as long to rally against Nova, a one-time amateur star who was fighting for a major title for the first time.

Nova (23-2, 16 KOs) took the fight to Foster in the early rounds, throwing punches in bunches and forcing the champion to fight defensively on his back foot.

However, by the middle rounds, when Nova seemed to tire, Foster settled into a rhythm and outboxed the challenger the rest of the way.

Nova continued to throw a lot of shots — he finished with a 701-429 edge in punches thrown overall, according to CompuBox — but Foster was more accurate and landed the cleaner blows. He outlanded Nova 139-122.

Nova rallied in Round 11, when he threw a fight-high 103 punches, but Foster took charge again in the final frame. He punctuated his performance by putting Nova down with a left hook with only 20 seconds remaining in the fight.

Foster clinched the victory with his performance in the 12th. Had Nova remained on his feet and won the round, the fight would’ve ended in a draw.

Foster won his title by easily outpointing Rey Vargas in February of last year. The Texan was making his second defense on Friday.

Nova, a Puerto Rican based in New York, had won two consecutive fights since he was stopped by two-time Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez in June 2022.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie