QUEENSBERRY Promotions launch their new season at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday night (September 14) when Brad Foster makes a voluntary defence of his British super-bantamweight title against Lucien Reid. It’s been quite a year for Foster, a 21-year-old from Lichfield, a picturesque cathedral city in South Staffordshire. Previously unknown outside the gyms and Midlands small halls, the former kickboxer announced himself in March by outboxing veteran Josh Wale for the vacant British title.
Ten weeks later, Foster, trained by his father Martin, added Ash Lane’s Commonwealth strap with a 12th round stoppage in Stevenage after joining Queensberry.
Foster scored a first-round knockdown with a well-disguised right hand and though he rather took his foot off the gas in the middle rounds and neglected his jab, Brad always looked comfortable and whenever it seemed Lane might be getting into it, he found a big punch to get him back under control.The seasoned Lane, down again in the 12th before the finish, was impressed.
“He’s one of the best I’ve boxed,” he told Boxing News. “He was strong, composed, his arms were long – and he can bang. That was the hardest I’ve been hit. He caught me cold in the first round, but I felt every shot. He’s a good size – that makes a big difference – and he controlled the distance really well. It was a hard night.”
In Reid, Foster faces a 25-year-old from Hackney who’s unbeaten in nine (one technical draw) since turning over in 2015 after an amateur career that included an ABA title in 2013.
“When I turned pro, I thought I would have the British title within a year,” he said. “But there’s been politics. I’m a fully-fledged pro now. I’ve sparred everyone and seen every style. I know I can do the 12 rounds easily. I was a boy when I turned pro and now I’m 25 and strong.”
Reid promises to be “fast, flashy and explosive.” Under Adam Booth, his reflexes were his defence, but Reid is now with Alan Smith, a trainer whose fighters tend to be more textbook and use their feet. Foster says he expects Reid to box “in and out” and to prepare, he’s sparred Andrew Selby.
Last time out, at the Royal Albert Hall in April, Reid had what he describes as “a thinking fight” with Indi Sangha, whose claims to be the Midlands’ answer to Prince Naseem Hamed had previously been put in perspective by Michael Ramebeletsa.
That fight pitted a pair of counter punchers against each other and Reid was just about edging it until he was ruled out in the third by an inch-long gash on his right eyebrow caused by a clash of heads.
Reid does cut. The challenger gets home advantage this weekend, but that won’t bother the quietly confident Foster.
One of the more grounded 21-year-olds you will meet, Foster said: “I want to be world champion, but so does everyone else. It’s competitive, it’s going to be tough.”
Foster has the size and momentum to beat Reid on points.
Also at York Hall, box-of-tricks Sunny Edwards, younger brother of WBC flyweight champion Charlie, looks to get a world ranking at 112lbs by beating Mexico’s Hugo Rosendo Guarneros over 10 rounds.
Last time out, Guarneros beat the 26-1 Luis Gerardo Castillo over eight and to compile a 16-2-2 in preliminary fights in Mexico tells us something about his hunger.
We can assume Guarneros has been facing opponents who stand and fight – and that’s not Edwards. He’s here, there and everywhere, pot shotting off both feet and disappearing – and breaking his opponents’ spirit.
A flash knockdown against Junior Granados in Brentwood last December aside, Edwards has been just about untouchable in his 12-fight pro career.
I counted Hiram Gallardo landing only 46 punches at the O2 Arena in July – and that was being generous to the Mexican. He found Edwards harder to hit as the fight went on. Sunny didn’t tire, he settled into a rhythm. He has said that once in his rhythm, he’s hard to win a round against, let alone beat, and at the level he’s been boxing at, that’s been the case.
Guarneros looks a step up from Galllardo – he throws more straight punches – but still, it’s likely to be a long, frustrating night for the Mexican.
Scunthorpe’s Dec Spelman (16-2) defends his English light-heavyweight title against Shakan Pitters.
It’s a rematch. They met in the final of ‘Ultimate Boxxer’ last November and Birmingham beanpole Pitters (12-0) won on points.
Spelman took a count in the first after a punch landed on his nose – broken in the previous fight – but over 10 rounds at 12 st 7lbs, the pick is for him to prevail by late stoppage.
Unbeatens Zak Chelli and Kody Davies meet in an eliminator for the British light-heavyweight title.
Chelli is stepping up from 12 stones where he won the Southern Area belt, outpointing Jimmy Smith (7-1) in April .
Previously known as a fighter who puts everything into every punch in the opening rounds and then fades, Chelli showed he can get behind his jab and pace himself over the longer distances. Chelli (7-0) has been matched harder, but of the two, Davies (9-0) looks to be the more polished. He’s also bigger and is a southpaw. Trained by ex-WBA super-lightweight champion Gavin Rees, Davies had a good amateur career – he boxed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games – and is looking to push on in the pros. Davies is the pick to win by stoppage.
The Verdict Lacking star names it might be but this is good domestic show.