Super-bantamweight title fight tops Queensberry five-fight return bill
At the tender age of 22, Brad Foster made the Lonsdale Belt his own after 12 hard rounds against unbeaten challenger James Beech Jr. Headlining inside Frank Warren’s Covid-free boxing bubble, Beech was competitive but Foster’s high octane attacks, often ending in body shots, ensured he was winning most of the rounds. Foster enjoyed plenty of success switch-hitting between stances. Game Beech (12-1, 2 KOs) was showing facial damage by the fourth.
Things got messy at the end of the fifth as British and Commonwealth king Foster stood off and elected to box from range. Scoring live for BT Sport, located within the specially-organised Stratford structure, former world champion Richie Woodhall gave Beech the round, but had Foster ahead 48-47 overall.
“I didn’t feel the best in there but I got the win and I took these belts home,” said Foster (13-0-2, 5 KOs). “I didn’t feel like I woke up until the seventh round to be honest.”
Foster is an active champion who now needs a break from the ring
After “waking up” Brad’s engine clicked in to place and he started bagging enough rounds to eventually secure a deserved unanimous verdict. Tiring badly, Beech Jr was hanging on in the final 30 seconds of the contest as Foster’s cracking body shots and right hands to the head took their toll. It was fitting to see the young man last the course and, as the old cliche goes, he can come again.
The judges were all in agreement that Brad Foster had done more than enough to retain his duel titles. Michael Alexander totalled 116-113 in favour of Foster, while Howard Foster and Terry O’Connor both had it 117-111 to the same man.
Foster added: “I want a break, take a little rest, then we can have a think about it [what’s next] with my team.”
“It was a great fight,” agreed BT pundit David Haye, who commended Foster for his extra quality of punch. “He looks very good. A switch-hitter, a great all-round athlete. He will start looking at European and possibly world titles.”
Steve Bunce pointed out the fact that Foster had gone through five British title fights in 16 months. The champion confessed he was tired, but still looks forward to a night on the tiles.
Sheeraz Kean on another stoppage win
Fearsome Hamzah Sheeraz improved his record to 11-0 with a seventh career stoppage. Sheeraz resisted the temptation to let the big shots fly against a tentative, overmatched foe and instead dissected Paul Kean round-by-round before the Scottish boxer’s corner decided he had no business continuing in to the seventh round and beyond.
Sheeraz kept hold of the WBO European super-welterweight bauble that he won against Ryan Kelly last November. Marcus McDonnell, Michael Alexander and Terry O’Connor were the unused judges. Gangly Sheeraz needed a mere two minutes to affirm his position as the dominant puncher. A flashing right hand left the Scottish southpaw on his back for a count.
Patient Sheeraz kept working behind a stiff jab as Kean (12-2, 1 KO) wisely spent the majority of the first two sessions on the back foot. Kean’s bloodied nose and damaged eye showed the intensity of Sheeraz’s two-fisted assaults. The Dundee challenger was being knocked about in the corner at the end of round five. Referee Howard Foster was hovering close by.
Kean’s corner mercifully stopped their man from coming out for more punishment after six one-sided sessions. Sheeraz later admitted that having no crowd meant he was more inclined to step back and let his opponent see out the rounds, rather than respond to the noise and seek to get his man out of there.
Adelaye too hot for Gordon
Heavyweight prospect David Adeleye has been making a name for himself on the sparring circuit. The Londoner sprinted to 2-0 with stoppage number two as Matt Gordon (2-3-1) felt the full force. Tattooed Gordon was felled in the corner by a heavy barrage and referee Michael Alexander did not like what he saw after doling out a count.
Krasmaru outpoints Williams
London-based Ukrainian Dorin Krasmaru outpointed battle-hardened journeyman Phil Williams. Krasmaru makes up in punching power what he lacks in mobility. Williams was always on the back foot and conceded every round on Michael Alexander’s single scorecard.
Chamberlain opens with a KO win
In the opening bout of the evening Mark Chamberlain (6-0) wasted little time removing overmatched Stu Greener (3-5) at lightweight. Southpaw Chamberlain was landing with both hands when referee Michael Alexander pulled Greener out in the first.
Frank Warren was the first UK promoter to return to the scene. BBBofC secretary Robert Smith told Steve Bunce that he was pleased with the evening’s action and would sit down with his staff to assess the good and the bad.
Not all of the fights were ultra-competitive as the matchmaker played it safe on Warren’s first show back. Sheeraz and Adelaye both looked extremely impressive, with much tougher tests to come down the line.
Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp starts on August 1. Across the water, Top Rank boxing started back as early as June 9 in their Las Vegas bubble and have been running shows for the past month.
All photographs courtesy of Queensberry Promotions and Frank Warren.