Nobody’s B-Side: O’Shaquie Foster discusses leaving Matchroom for Top Rank and the possibility of fighting Emanuel Navarrete

Interview by Declan Warrington

BN: Your past fight, October’s victory over Mexico’s Eduardo Hernandez, was perhaps the finest of your career. Why leave Matchroom for Top Rank?

OF: Because everything about that fight wasn’t genuine. I was treated like the B-side. They did everything to get the advantage – which you’re supposed to do – but as a promoter, I think you’d be kind of, in between. But it’s all good. That’s why we’re here now – I felt genuine love from Top Rank, and it just felt like the right choice.

BN: …you think Matchroom wanted you to lose?

OF: It was deeper than just me and him fighting. For sure.

The ring was soft; the ring was small; there was all kinds of things going on with that fight [staged in Cancun, Mexico]. The judges – one judge got me down; the other judge gave him the first seven or eight rounds. It’s crazy.

BN: They must have tried to keep you after an exciting fight like that?

OF: You know, I didn’t have any talks with them. Not even for [Joe] Cordina – nothing.

I mean I had offers [from other promoters] before the Hernandez fight, but like I said, Top Rank – they showed me the most love, and like I said, I always wanted to fight on ESPN. Everybody came through Top Rank; Muhammad Ali, all the way down to Floyd [Mayweather]. It’s always been a dream of mine to be great and do great things, and I think this is the path to it.

I was sure that [the dramatic knockout of Hernandez] was the reason why [Top Rank wanted me]. I was able to show a lot in that fight, and I’m not going to lie, Top Rank was not who I thought was going to come for me. It surprised me, and it was all love that it worked out.

It was one of the most exciting moments of my life, to just be a part of something that feels like they want me. I don’t feel like I gotta go out there and try to knock my guy out every time, just to get the win, so I’m happy.

BN: Was the possibility of a fight with Emanuel Navarrete mentioned to you as part of the deal?

OF: I think it’s a possibility. They’ve got plenty of options, but you know firstly the main target is to unify, and so I think it could be a possibility. You’ve got two champions with the same motive, so it shouldn’t be that hard to make.

We’re always up for unifying – that’s something we’ve been screaming since we won the [WBC] title, but we understand that some fights have to be built, and the process of it, so we definitely want it. It’s a possibility, for sure.

But one thing about it, he’s got to want it too – I’m done chasing these guys. That’s one thing about it [that] I would say – calling out [Joe] Cordina. I was a free agent before he fought the guy that he fought, even before the purse bid, so I’m done chasing these guys. I’m gonna call them out, but if they wanna fight, it’s got to be a two-way street.

BN: How good a fighter is he?

OF: I’ve always enjoyed watching him fight, especially when he first came on the scene, because I thought it was one of the most awkwardest, weirdest fight styles that have ever came through the game, but it worked for him. It was entertaining, so I think he’s a good, awkward fighter – he does things that a normal fighter can’t do. I’m talking about being out of position – those things that he does [laughs]. He’s a great champ, he definitely deserves the clout that he gets.

I thought that he was going to beat [in August 2023 Oscar] Valdez. That fight with Valdez, it made me see that he’s a little smarter than what I thought of him at first. I saw something like that.

BN: Does it surprise you Matchroom didn’t make a fight between you and Joe Cordina?

OF: Yeah we would’ve fought, but he did say plenty of times that he didn’t want the fight with me, so they can’t force him to fight. Like I said, everything that went down with this last fight, and even before the fight, things that I can’t talk about [that] they know – it really just wasn’t going to work out.

I know that after his fight, he said that there wasn’t no money [in] fighting me and things like that, so I just stopped paying attention to it – I’m not going to lie to you – because like I said, I was a free agent before his last fight, and he didn’t have an obligation to do a mandatory [fight] or anything, so we could’ve done it then. Obviously if I’m willing to go to Mexico, I would’ve gone anywhere – I’ve shown that I’ll go anywhere, it could have been where him and [Edward] Vazquez fought [Monte Carlo, Monaco], so it’s all good, man.

BN: Is Cordina good enough to threaten Shakur Stevenson, as has been discussed?

OF: After that [November’s fight with Vazquez], I don’t really see [Joe] Cordina beating the elite guys – I honestly don’t. You know, anybody that steps in the ring [has] got a puncher’s chance, but I don’t see it being a competitive fight with him and Shakur [Stevenson].

[Stevenson is] a great fighter. He knows how to use his range well; he’s got speed; he’s just real smart, and he does his thing.

Just look out for me [against Abraham Nova] – 2024, I’m gonna start it off with a bang.

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