Brad Foster Takes On Tall Order

BRAD FOSTER RECKONS he could be up against the best super bantamweight in Europe on Friday when he takes on Ionut Baluta, with the WBC International title at stake.

Foster returns to York Hall – scene of his memorable double-header against Lucien Reid – bidding to get back on the winning track after being parted from his British, Commonwealth and IBF International belts in his challenge for the European title held by Jason Cunningham in October of last year.

Despite firmly believing he should now be the proud owner of four belts, Foster was denied on the cards and now gets ready to jump straight back in at the deep end against the Madrid-based Romanian, who is a genuine force with previous in upsetting the home favourite.

“He is a very good fighter, probably the best in Europe, to be honest,” assessed Foster, who insists he gave no thought to returning to the fighting fold with an eight-round workout.

“Nah, because that is easy, isn’t it? It is easy to do an eight-rounder and just beat someone up, I’d rather have a fight that actually means something and take a bit of a risk.

“That is how you get recognised in this game, taking risks.”

Incredibly, for one so young at just 24, Foster is entering into his ninth straight title fight, with five of them being over the full 12-round distance. He now goes in over 10 against Baluta and promises a proper battle in Bethnal Green.

“I thank Frank Warren for getting me back in a title fight and me versus Baluta is a good fight. He is an all-action fighter and so am I, so it is good and I am looking forward to it, getting back in the lion’s den at York Hall.

“Hopefully it is a Lucien Reid II type performance, taking over London again with the boys from Birmingham, you know how it goes.

“You are going to see an exciting performance. I can’t tell too much but I am going to go in there and win. He will be coming to bring it and has had a long time to train. So listen, it is just going to be a good fight.

“Of course there are a lot of things I can improve on and you never stop learning in this game. Obviously, from the last fight, towards the end of the rounds I need to come on a bit stronger. There are a couple of things I have been working on, don’t worry.

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“I know I didn’t get the decision against Jason but you can always learn something from certain fights. Maybe because I lost it I look back on the fight more. I look back and still think I won it, but you can still learn and improve from it and that is what I’ve been doing.”

Foster, of course, operates in what is a thriving division on the domestic front, with Cunningham and himself being hunted down by the likes of Marc Leach, Liam Davies, Andrew Cain and Chris Bourke.

The Lichfield man is happy to entertain some in-house warfare, but only if it doesn’t divert from his objective of climbing up the world rankings.

“Yeah everyone seems to be moving up to super bantam! It is a good division and if these fights benefit me and mean a good step in my career I am open to it. I just want good fights.

“They would be action-packed fights and I see myself at the top of that pile. I want to push on and they ain’t in my way, they need to fight me to get where I am. I am looking at people like Baluta, who is a step in the direction of world titles and getting those ranking points.

“That is why I wanted to fight him because it will progress me. Fighting the others at the minute doesn’t progress me. Yes they are good fights, but they don’t push me towards world titles.

“Baluta has had good fights with good people like Michael Conlan and I know he is a good fighter. I know I can go in there and beat him good, which is what I will be doing.”

Brad Foster Starts The Healing Process

BRAD FOSTER IS back in the title mix at York Hall on May 20 but his disputed points defeat to Jason Cunningham last time out remains a scar that has yet to fully heal.

The 24-year-old, 14-1-2 (5 KOs) takes on the dangerous Romanian Ionut Baluta, 14-3 (3 KOs) with the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title at stake in Bethnal Green.

Foster is bidding to reboot his title collecting trait after being parted from his British, Commonwealth and IBF International straps in his challenge for the European title held by Jason Cunningham in October of last year in Birmingham.

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After a hard-fought, often scrappy affair, commentators and pundits alike called Foster as the winner, only for all three judges to give the verdict to Cunningham, two of them by a single point margin.

Cunningham now has his sights fixed firmly on world level competition, while Foster will go again against an opponent who scored victories over Kyle Williams, TJ Doheny and David Oliver Joyce before dropping a tight majority decision against Michael Conlan.

Foster’s reflections on his ultimately unsuccessful European title challenge make it clear that the Cunningham itch is one he needs to scratch before too long.

“It is a hard one because I believe I won the fight, but it is in the past now and I can’t really do anything about it,” he reasoned. “The only thing that I can do is get the rematch and smash him, simple as that. Or get myself in the position where I am in the No.1 spot, which is what I am going to do.

“Most people thought I won the fight. I know I won the fight. Then you have got people like Carl Frampton and John Fury, knowledgeable boxing people, saying I had it. They ain’t gonna lie.

“Listen, I can’t cry over spilt milk, I’ve got to get myself into a better position and keep moving forward.”

Sampling the sour taste of defeat for the first time, Foster confirms, is an even more galling experience when utterly convinced the decision would be going in his favour.

“It is an awful feeling, but you can’t feel like it forever and you’ve got to pick yourself up and go again. That is what champions do.

“It pisses me off more now, to be honest. I would have been in a different position with bigger opportunities. It is one of them though.

“Time being on my side shouldn’t make any difference. I would have been 24 with four belts. It was a step back for me that creates a bigger comeback,” added Foster with an upbeat nod to the future.

Foster knows too that he needs to box smarter. Against Cunningham, referee Mark Lyson was continually on his case and potentially this could have affected the way rounds were totted up by the judges. He also had a point deducted for a supposed low blow.

The Lichfield man suspects it was more about Cunningham using his cunning built up in a professional career of over 10 years.

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“Everyone goes on about this ‘experience’,” Foster countered. “Is being experienced moaning to the referee about every shot? I think that is just experience of winging it.

“It wasn’t a low blow either when the point was taken off.

“There were a lot of things to it, Jason knows when to do things behind the referee and manoeuvres. That is the way his experience plays out.

“I’d fight him again! He has got the win against me so I want to fight him and he is the person with the title at the minute. We will see what comes up because I am not really focusing on Jason too much because I have got a geezer who is a better fighter and more dangerous than Jason in front of me on the 20th.”

Tickets for the show at York Hall on Friday, 20 May are on sale now, available directly from the fighters or via eventbrite.co.uk or alternatively call: 01992 505 550 (office hours only).

Brad Foster v Ionut Baluta for the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title takes place at York Hall on Friday May 20.

Also in championship action on the night will be Liverpool super bantamweight Andrew Cain, making a first defence of his WBC International Silver title against durable Mexican Luis Moreno.

Two first cousins feature on the card on another special night for the Frankham fighting family. Super featherweight Charles (5-0, 2 KOs) and welterweight Josh (5-0, 2 KOs) will continue their progression in the professional ranks in six round fights.

Future super bantamweight star Adan Mohamed (4-0, 1 KO) from Buckhurst Hill will have his fifth professional assignment on the card over four rounds, alongside Bexley welterweight Micky Burke jr (5-0, 2 KOs) over six and Beckton lightweight Mohammad Bilal Ali (4-1, 1 KO) in a four rounder.

Recent Frank Warren signing Raven Chapman (2-0, 1 KO) will have her first fight under the Queensberry promotional banner when she takes on the unbeaten Italian Nadia Flalhi (3-0, 1 KO) over six rounds at featherweight.

Sean Noakes will make his professional debut at the famous East London venue with the Maidstone man – older brother of lightweight Sam – fighting at welterweight over four rounds.

Tickets for the show at York Hall on Friday, 20 May are on sale now, available directly from the fighters or via eventbrite.co.uk or alternatively call: 01992 505 550 (office hours only).