BRAD FOSTER IS one of the lucky ones. He got to settle his score with Lucien Reid and successfully retain his British and Commonwealth super bantamweight titles on a night of rematches, which also saw Tyson Fury put Deontay Wilder firmly in his place.
Shortly after February 22, the night when boxing was all set to really click into gear for the year, the sport – along with pretty much every other industry – ground to a halt and instructions were issued for us all to remain in confinement.
Preparations for numerous fistic encounters have gone on hold as gyms closed across the country and we all await some positive developments in the fight against Covid-19.
“Of course I am lucky, look at the Dubois-Joyce having to be put back and that is a massive fight,” reflected Foster on his personal good fortune. “Luckily I got mine in and defended my titles, it was a great night and I can look back at all the TV coverage. I am one of the few that can do that this year and it was massive for me.
“I have noticed a upturn in people taking an interest in me with my fight being shown live on ITV along with BT Sport and I had a lot of new Instagram followers when I got around to looking at my social media after going for a boogie in London after my fight.
“There was no drinking for me, strictly coca-colas and dancing!
“I went to a place called XOYO and it was open until about five, so I went there straight after leaving York Hall. My friends booked a booth and the place is massive and a banging club, to be fair.
“Thankfully I was not marked up after my fight so I didn’t catch the attention of the doormen, who might have thought I was some sort of troublemaker.”
Foster, 22, felt he had a point to prove after the original meeting with Hackney man Reid was scored a draw back in October 2019. The resident of Lichfield knew his own barnstorming style had to come to the fore if he was to enjoy success against the confident Londoner, who knows every trick in the book when it comes to making it an awkward night.
After struggling to put a dent in the 26-year-old first time around, Foster was drilled to do whatever it took to turn the tables on his ring-smart opponent and take him right out of his comfort zone.
“That is what I had to do really because he is a good boxer. After the first fight I noticed that my front foot was a bit slow and I was leaning in. Just little things I was doing in the first fight that I knew were wrong and I needed to put right. Also I was just flat and couldn’t correct them while I was in there.
“I knew the things that were wrong – like my footwork – and I had to work on them for the second fight. Obviously I did it and made a bit of a statement in there.
“If I had won that first fight and it wasn’t a draw I would probably have neglected what I did wrong. Where it was a draw and could have gone either way, it made me think more about where I came up short.
“You think about things more and work harder to put it right. That is what I did and when the time came I showed everyone that I wasn’t at my best in the first fight.
“It makes the pain of not winning a positive experience because Lucien Reid is a good fighter and it proves that I am up there with all these people who have had vast amateur experience, while I have come from nowhere really.
“I don’t think anyone wanted to fight Lucien because of his style and that proves what I am like.
“In my opinion that was the best night of my boxing career and the feeling was incredible when he didn’t come out for the seventh round. It was in his home town and everyone was writing me off, he was saying he was going to knock me clean out, so when that happened… You can’t beat it.”
Now, a few weeks on, the world has changed and ways of life have dramatically altered across the globe. Rules are rules and boxers are no different, so gone are the daily gym sessions, sparring, strength and conditioning, with the only upside being that the diet plan probably moves to the back burner.
“Oh, I am going insane, bored out of my head! I just want to go to the gym. I’ve got a little punch bag in the shed at the bottom of the garden but it just isn’t the same as going to the gym and doing your proper workout.
“You can get one run in, but it is just a downer on everything, to be honest. I live at home with my mum and dad so I can’t see my girlfriend and have to rely on stuff like Facetime.
“There is a new App called Houseparty though that everybody is going mad about, which you can play games on too. It is like Facetime but it can include up to something like eight people. So I have been doing a bit of that.
“I am being a typical youngster at the moment, glued to my phone and playing PS4 all the time. That is all you can do. A little run, bag and PS4 is my day.
“I don’t need telling to do my fitness stuff because it makes you feel better and if I didn’t do I would be in front of the telly all day and really going insane.”
When we are finally able to depart the world of PS4 and Houseparty to return to real life, Foster has his eyes fixed on one particular prize.
“Getting the British title outright, that is my next step. Whenever that may be.”