By Keith Idec
O’Shaquie Foster pulled off an upset Friday night and produced the biggest win of his six-year pro career.
The junior lightweight from Houston craftily out-boxed favored prospect Jon Fernandez to win a unanimous decision in the main event of Showtime’s four-bout “ShoBox” broadcast from Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Foster expertly executed a cautious yet effective game plan that enabled him to defeat Fernandez on all three scorecards.
Judges Sarah Atwood, Jesse Reyes and David Sutherland each scored the fight for Foster by the same margin, 98-92. The 25-year-old Foster improved to 14-2 (8 KOs) by beating a powerful opponent who had hoped to defeat Foster on his way to securing a 130-pound title shot in 2019.
The 23-year-old Fernandez, who’s co-managed by former middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, lost for the first time in three years as a pro (16-1, 14 KOs).
Foster previously lost eight-round decisions to Rolando Chinea and Samuel Teah. When the scores were announced Friday night, there was no doubt about what the shorter, slicker boxer had done to Fernandez.
Fernandez landed some hard shots in the 10th round. By then, however, Foster had built up more than enough of a lead to overcome losing that round.
Fernandez landed a right hand early in the ninth round that made Foster move. Foster regained control later in the ninth, when he landed to the body and head, and caught Fernandez with a straight right late in that round.
Foster drilled Fernandez with a right hand that stopped Fernandez in his tracks early in the eighth round. Foster then landed a couple left hooks later in eighth, but Fernandez countered him with a right hand that forced Foster to retreat.
Fernandez connected with a left hook and a right uppercut as Foster tried to trade with him in the seventh round.
Fernandez connected with a right hand early in the sixth round, but Foster took that shot well and prevented Fernandez from following up. Foster snapped back Fernandez’s head with a right hand when there were about 20 seconds to go in the sixth round.
Fernandez finally caught Foster with a right hand that hurt him just before the sixth round ended. Foster stumbled backward, but the bell quickly sounded to end that round.
Fernandez landed an overhand right and followed it up with a right uppercut late in the fifth round. That was one of the rare productive sequences for Fernandez to that point in the fight.
Foster’s short left snapped back Fernandez’s head early in the fourth round. Cole warned Foster for holding Fernandez behind the head later in the fourth.
With just under two minutes to go in the fourth, Foster landed a straight right hand. He continued controlling the action with his jab and movement for the rest of that round.
Foster landed a right-left combination toward the end of the third round. He again boxed well against an aggressive Fernandez in those three minutes.
Foster was accurate with his jab throughout the second round. He also was effective defensively, as he mostly made Fernandez miss with his right hand.
Foster spent the first round moving out of Fernandez’s punching range. Fernandez couldn’t catch his smaller opponent with a hard punch in those three minutes.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.