KEY WORKER Brad Foster has put the Lockdown night shifts at Tesco behind him and is looking forward to what he predicts will be a “massive event” when he faces James Beech Jr on Friday night, live only on BT Sport.
Lichfield’s Foster (12-0-2, 5 KO’s) defends his British and Commonwealth Super-Bantam titles against fellow Midlander Beech Jr. (12-0, 2 KO’s) in the main event of British boxing’s first show back in 118 days.
Foster also has the unique honour of having headlined Queensberry Promotions last show before lockdown, stopping Lucien Reid after six rounds at York Hall on February 22nd, and admits he feels “blessed” to be British boxing’s last man out and first man back.
Speaking on ‘Head 2 Head’, the first of Queensberry’s digital press conferences for the upcoming Summer fight series, Foster said: “I’m blessed to be in this situation and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Listening on was his undefeated opponent James Beech Jr, who shared Foster’s excitement at being part of British boxing history.
Speaking about receiving the call to fight for the British and Commonwealth titles, Beech admitted: “I was running up and down my living room, I was buzzing to be honest.”
“It’s a massive opportunity for me and I can change my life if I get the win on Friday,” he added.
Both men are aware of the extra importance of fighting on boxing’s first show back, with Foster believing the excitement for the sports return will rival that which greeted football when it came back last month.
“It’s going to be a massive, massive event. People haven’t been able to watch the sport. It’s like the football, people were going mad that the football was coming back and it’s going to be the same with boxing.
“I’m sure me and Beech will put a great fight on for fans watching at home.”
Preparation for the huge main event has been unorthodox, though, with neither man able to get in the gym over the UK’s lockdown period.
Community-minded Foster has also been putting in some extra work at Tesco throughout Lockdown, helping to fill online shopping orders for housebound Midlanders, but insists he’ll be as ready as ever come fight night.
“I’ve been working nights, so going to Tesco at night, getting the hours in then coming home and sleeping and from then on it’s just training really” said Foster, “It’ll be an exciting fight and I just can’t wait for it.”
In response, Beech Jr was adamant that the extra time he has been able to dedicate to his cardiovascular training whilst at home has put him in good stead.
“I’ve put in more work for this fight than I have for any other fight. I’ll be the fittest i’ve ever been.”
Unsurprisingly, the two Midlanders are no strangers to one another, with Beech Jr revealing that the pair had been sparring partners ahead of Foster’s victory over Lucien Reid at York Hall on February 22nd.
Champ Foster accepts that Beech put in some “good rounds” and admits they got along well, but says that on fight night all that will go to the back of the mind.
“He’s going to try and punch my head in, so i’m going to try and punch his head in,” laughed Foster.
“We’re there to do a job at the end of the day, so for 36 minutes you’ve got to put whatever aside and try and punch each other’s heads in” replied Beech, “It’s as simple as that.”
Asked for a prediction on how the fight might go, both men were confident of victory under the lights of the BT Sport Studio.
Man-of-few-words Foster said just “I’ll be the winner outright” whilst lesser known Beech Jr said that his desire to “prove” himself will see him crowned as the new British and Commonwealth Super-Bantam king.
“I want to be in 50-50 fights, I want to be in proper fights and prove to people how good I am. Further down the stretch my strength and better fighting technique will come out and take over.”
A smiling Foster was unphased by his opponents confidence, however, and simply added “we will see.”
And see we will, live at 7pm on Friday night only on BT Sport 1.
Brad Foster back in action on July 10
BRAD FOSTER IS looking to pick up where he left off when he makes a return to the ring on July 10 at the BT Sport studios.
The British and Commonwealth super bantamweight champion is now the flag bearer for boxing’s return to business following the enforced suspension of activities, having previously acted as the final headliner in domestic televised action back on February 22 on BT Sport.
He comprehensively outfought Lucien Reid in a rematch of their drawn title duel five months earlier at the same York Hall venue.
Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions have announced a series of fight nights that will play out across a huge Summer of boxing live on BT Sport, with British title battles playing a lead role in the sport returning to our screens.
In addition to Foster taking on the undefeated James Beech Jr on opening night, we also have the British super featherweight clash between Anthony Cacace and Lyon Woodstock to look forward to, as well as the super middleweight collision between Lerrone Richards and Umar Sadiq on dates to be confirmed shortly.
Foster, 22, who won the vacant title with his defeat of Josh Wale in March 2019, is now on the cusp of claiming his Lord Lonsdale belt for keeps following successful defences against Ashley Lane and Reid.
Beech, 23, is a two-weight Midlands Area titlist, having won the belt at super featherweight in December 2018 against Louis Fielding and last time out a year later at featherweight by defeating Luke Jones.
“It is fantastic for me to go first with me being the last to go on February 22,” said Foster (12-0-2), known as Brad the Blade. “It is great and it keeps me busy so it is all good and I am looking forward to it.
“I was buzzing when I heard. I’d been ticking over well during lockdown because there was nothing else to do really, I was training myself, getting the runs and bike rides in. Now I can train properly.
“Winning the belt to keep is my motivation and it has been a goal of mine so I am looking forward to this fight and getting the win. The pressure is on for this one because it is the most important one. I’ve got to get in there and do the business.
“I know James Beech and he is a good, game fighter and twice Midlands champion at higher weights. So he is going to be strong and I know he is a tough lad. I will have to be on my A-game.”
Beech (12-0) views the occasion as simply a life-changing opportunity for which he will be more than ready.
“This is a massive opportunity for me. I’d like to thank Frank Warren and BCB for the opportunity.
“This is a chance to change mine and my family’s life. I will be 100% ready come 10th July.”
Also featuring as boxing emerges from Lockdown is the WBO European super welterweight champion Hamzah Sheeraz (10-0), who defends his belt against the (12-1) Scot Paul Kean from Dundee.
Sheeraz, just 21, stepped up the levels in his last fight back in November in Birmingham when he stopped local favourite Ryan Kelly in the sixth round, with his previous three fights lasting a combined 3mins 47secs.
Kean, 27, won the vacant BUI Celtic title in May 2018 and doubled his belt count in March 2019 by overcoming Craig Kelly with a third round stoppage to win the Scottish Area title.
“To be honest I am really chuffed to be on first because if you look at most boxers they are not getting the opportunity to fight at any level,” said the Ilford man Sheeraz. “This being a big show as well and the first one back, a Frank Warren show too, so I am looking forward to it and training hard as ever.
“I am ready to go as it has been a long time. There will probably be about ten times more eyes on the fights than there normally is because, at a time like this, everybody needs a bit of entertainment – and what is more entertaining than watching two fellas punch each other in the face on TV?
“Even though it might not seem there are ten times more people watching when we are in there, they will be and it will be a buzz.”
Elsewhere on the card, the new big heavyweight hope David Adeleye will be looking to demonstrate that he is a considerable force to be reckoned with when he steps in for his second professional fight on July 10, with his debut in December having ended swiftly via a first round KO. The Notting Hill heavy had just returned from Las Vegas, where he sparred Tyson Fury ahead of The Gypsy King’s scrap with Deontay Wilder, before Lockdown kicked in.
No stranger to a quick finish, Mark Chamberlain (5-0, 3KOs), helps round out the top-to-bottom exciting card. ‘Da Bomb’ has three first round stoppages to his name and he will be looking to continue in spectacular fashion in Stratford.
Finally, Daniel Dubois’ sparring partner Dorin Krasmaru enters into his third professional bout after stopping Matt Gordon in November 2019.