By Terence Dooley
Stephen Foster Junior, 28-2-1 (18 KOs), had an exceptional 2010; the 30-year-old went 4-0 (2 early) en route to picking up the EBU super-featherweight title with a third round TKO win over Levan Kirakosyan last October and is set to make his maiden defence against Belgium's Ermano Fegatilli at the Bolton Arena later tonight.
Foster had a fifteen-month lay off prior to his 2010 run. Indeed, there were persistent rumours that Stephen had lost his appetite for the sport and was set to call time on a career which saw him win the WBU featherweight title back in 2005, a belt he lost in an upset to Liverpool's Derry Matthews.
The constant speculation over Foster's future exasperated his father, former world title challenger Steve 'The Viking' Foster. Foster Senior always believed that his son had the ability to win major titles, he told Sky Sports that his son would present any of the major title holders with a stern test.
“Don't forget, Junior won two ABA championships [at bantamweight],” argued Steve, who manages Stephen, “I accepted the [Kirakosyan] fight because I knew Stephen would do a job on him. We've seen bits of him [Fegatilli] but we're confident, we want to fight for major world titles.
“I miss boxing like anything but when Stephen boxes I just want him to succeed. With my son, it is a bit personal. He sparred [former WBC super-bantamweight holder] Willie Jorrin when he was seventeen and Willie was getting ready for a world title fight against Michael Brodie so he's been in good company.
“Stephen is a completely different type of boxer than me. Other fighters try to protect their unbeaten record but in Junior's case it is not how you start but how you finish, there's a song in there somewhere, and he's finishing very well. I think he's a seasoned fighter, he's boxed all over the world as an amateur and I'd put him in with anybody.
“If Kirakosyan was boxing the WBA champion [Takashi Uchiyama] and Uchiyama did what Stephen did what would we be saying now – we'd be saying he is a bit special. People haven't given Stephen the credit he deserves. We've got a three-year window, we're like a freight train going at full speed.”
Foster Senior won the Commonwealth light-middleweight title by out pointing former WBO middleweight title holder Chris Pyatt in 1996, Foster lost his own WBO title tilt against Ronald 'Winky' Wright at the MEN Arena on May 3rd 1997 after going down to a sixth-round TKO.
Fegatilli has gone 8-0 (1) since dropping a points decision to Vitali Tajbert in 2008. His last major title action resulted in a split decision loss to Jesus Garcia Escalona for the EBU-EU belt in November 2007. The 26-year-old is 22-4 (5) and has never been stopped, Foster will seek to become the first man to halt the Liege resident as he bids to move onto world title contention.
Sky Sports HD1 and 1 televise at 8pm.
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