O’Shaquie Foster upset previously undefeated Jon Fernandez in a battle of ShoBox: The New Generation veterans, scoring an impressive unanimous decision victory over the highly regarded prospect Friday on SHOWTIME from Firelake Arena. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: https://s.sho.com/2OI0NUp
Fernandez (16-1, 14 KOs), a protégé of former unified world champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, became the 180th fighter in the history of the ShoBox series to lose his undefeated record after three other previously undefeated fighters dropped decisions on Friday.
The 25-year-old Foster (14-2, 8 KOs), a resident of Houston, executed his team’s game plan to perfection, utilizing superb movement and connecting opportunistically with counter shots. Foster was far sharper on both offense and defense, connecting on 36 percent of his total punches compared to just 16 percent for Fernandez.
Fernandez was frustrated by Foster, a crafty and experienced fighter who was one win away from representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics. In his previous six bouts, Fernandez averaged 8.4 jab connects per round but was limited to just 13 jabs in tonight’s entire 10-round fight.
“This was the best fight of my career,” said Foster, who was appearing on the ShoBox series for the fourth time. “I knew I had it in me, I just never put it together. I have a new team, I have a new trainer, a new strength and conditioning coach. This was what I dreamed of and we put in the work to make it happen.
“I knew he was a puncher and he’d come forward the whole fight. I knew I had to work off my jab and use my lateral movement. He had a little power, but he never got me clean. We’re going to sit down and look at the drawing board. I can tell you this, we’re not the B-side anymore.”
Fernandez improved throughout the second half of the fight, landing a big right hand in the sixth round that briefly wobbled Foster. However, the Spaniard was unable to extend his impressive KO streak of 14 consecutive fights.
“His style was frustrating, but we were expecting it,” said the 23-year-old Fernandez, who was widely regarded as one of the top prospects in boxing. “We thought his conditioning would go down and he’d slow down in the later rounds. He didn’t (slow down) and that surprised me.
“I feel like we can still get better and better. We just had a bad game plan for this fight.”
Irvin Gonzalez Jr. (11-0, 9 KOs) out-boxed Carlos Ramos (9-1, 6 KOs) from start to finish to score a unanimous decision victory in the co-featured bout of tonight’s ShoBox: The New Generation telecast. The judges scored the fight 79-73, 78-74, 80-72. Gonzalez, who was the more active and aggressive fighter, kept his unbeaten record intact despite facing a frustrating and defensively shrewd opponent in Ramos.
“It took me a few rounds to figure him out, but once I did he didn’t have anything on me,” said Gonzalez. “He only had the left hand and that was about it. He really didn’t throw any punches.
“This was a big learning experience for me. This was my second eight-rounder and it opened my eyes a little bit. I know I’m conditioned well but I have to go back to work.”
The 22-year-old Gonzalez, a fourth-generation boxer in his family and native of Worcester, Mass., outhustled the skillful southpaw Ramos, who was not nearly active enough throughout the eight rounds. The longer, leaner Gonzalez, who averaged 58 punches per round to Ramos’ 28, relied on his length advantage and fought at range.
The tentative and defensive Ramos, on the other hand, landed only 27 punches in the remaining seven rounds after landing 11 in the opening round. Gonzalez, for his part, exceed 50 punches in all but the third round.
In the second bout of the quadrupleheader, Philadelphia’s Steven Ortiz (9-0, 3 KOs) edged Brooklyn’s Wesley Ferrer (12-1-1, 7 KOs) in an evenly-matched and difficult-to-score matchup of undefeated prospects. The two fighters were separated by no more than five total punches in each round of the majority decision, which was scored 78-74, 77-75, 76-76.
Both fighters fought at a deliberate pace, but neither was able to find their rhythm and consistently land combinations. Ortiz started stronger, but Ferrer grew into the fight and was the busier fighter in the middle rounds. The final two rounds were the deciding factor in the fight. The two judges who had Ortiz winning on their scorecards favored Ortiz in rounds seven and eight.
“I think it was a pretty close fight,” said a disappointed Ferrer. “I thought I was winning the first few rounds, but I know I got out-worked in the last two rounds. At the end of the day, the judges saw something else and he got the win. If I won the last few rounds I would have won the fight.”
Ortiz, who held a narrow 127-115 advantage in total punches landed and a 99-93 advantage in power punches landed, felt he did enough to win but was not completely satisfied with his performance.
“I was coming off a long layoff and wasn’t as sharp as I should have been,” said the 25-year-old Ortiz. “I landed the sharper jabs and landed the harder shots. I think my ring experience and ring generalship was the difference in the fight.
“I want to come back a lot sharper and a lot smarter. At the end of the day, it was a learning experience. I got the win against a tough guy.”
In the telecast opener, Denver’s Misael Lopez (9-0, 4 KOs) got the better of Staten Island’s James Wilkins (5-1, 5 KOs) in a battle of young, previously undefeated super featherweight prospects, tallying a unanimous decision victory (79-72, 77-74, 76-75).
The action-packed fight saw both fighters come out swinging, setting the tempo for the rest of the eight-round bout which saw a total of 1,320 punches thrown. Wilkins brought the pressure to Lopez throughout, but Lopez’s volume of punches, movement and combinations enabled him to control most of the rounds. Lopez’s conditioning proved key. In the final four rounds, Lopez led 139-68 in total connects and landed 213 power punches to just 115 for Wilkins throughout the duration of the eight rounds.
Wilkins, who was featured on the SHOWTIME documentary CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS that premiered immediately preceding tonight’s ShoBox telecast, was deducted a point for a low blow in the fifth round after several warnings. In the seventh round, Wilkins appeared to score a knockdown when he connected with a strong right hand that knocked Lopez off-balance, but referee Mike England ruled that Lopez’s right hand did not touch the mat.
“I think the difference was I was able to make him miss, land the cleaner shots and used my boxing to dictate the pace,” said the 22-year-old Lopez. “I’m looking to keep going and stay on the big stage. Hopefully people and promoters will notice that I’m the real deal.”
In his national television debut, the ever-confident Wilkins felt wronged by the judges’ scorecards and the referee’s apparent missed knockdown in the seventh.
“I think I did enough to pull it off,” said Wilkins. “I could see a split decision, maybe, but I dropped him and that wins the fight. That was a 10-8 round. I want to go back to the gym, work hard and get right back. You haven’t seen the last of me.”
Tonight’s quadrupleheader was presented by DiBella Entertainment in association with MaravillaBox Promotions, Holden Productions and The Real Deal Boxing, and sponsored by Gagliardi Insurance.
The full telecast will replay on Monday, September 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME on DEMAND®.
Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside with boxing analyst and historian Steve Farhood, who was celebrating 40 years in boxing this week, and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Chuck McKean producing and Rick Phillips directing.
In non-televised undercard action, heavyweight Prospect George Arias of Bronx, N.Y. improved to 12-0, 7 KOs with a second-round knockout (2:18) of Byron Polley, (30-24-1, 13 KOs), of St. Joseph, Mo. Polley was down once in the first and again in the second round which resulted in the stoppage.
Junior Middleweight Dennis Knifechief, of Shawnee, Okla. moved to 12-8-1, 7 KOs with a fourth round TKO (1:51) of the valiant Chris Barnes, (4-8-1, 3 KOs) of Tulsa. Barnes fought on after being dropped in the first and second rounds and twice more in the fourth.
Top Middleweight Prospect Ardreal Holmes of Flint, Mich., looked dominant and improved to 7-0, 4 KOs with a four-round decision of Houston’s Rick Graham (6-21-3, 2 KOs). The fight was scored 40-35 twice and 38-37.
A scheduled six-round cruiserweight battle between Bo Gibbs Jr, (20-1-0, 8 KOs), of Carney, Okla., and David Lujan, (4-9-0, 1 KO), of Wichita, Texas, resulted in a no-contest due to an accidental clash of heads in the first round.
Top 130-pound prospect Jon Fernandez and former decorated amateur O’Shaquie Foster made weight on Thursday for their 10-round matchup in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation tomorrow/Friday live on SHOWTIME at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT from Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Okla.
Fernandez (16-0, 14 KOs), a native of Spain and protégé of former unified champion Sergio Martinez, will face his toughest test to date in Foster (13-2, 8 KOs), a Houston resident who was one win away from representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics.
Friday’s quadrupleheader features eight prospects boasting a combined record of 81-2-1 and 56 KOs.
The telecast opens with James Wilkins (5-0, 5 KOs), who is featured on the SHOWTIME documentary CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, squaring off against fellow-unbeaten Misael Lopez (8-0, 4 KOs). Staten Island’s Wilkins is a featured fighter in the documentary that chronicles the 2015 New York Golden Gloves, premiering at 8 p.m. ET/PT immediately preceding the ShoBox telecast.
In Friday’s co-feature, undefeated featherweight prospects Irvin Gonzalez Jr. (10-0, 9 KOs), of Worcester, Mass., and Carlos Ramos (9-0, 6 KOs), of Madrid, will collide in an eight-round bout. Also on the card is Brooklyn’s Wesley Ferrer (12-0-1, 7 KOs), who will face fellow-unbeaten Philadelphia prospect Steven Ortiz (8-0, 3 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Super Featherweight 10-Round Bout
Jon Fernandez – 129 ¾ lbs.
O’Shaquie Foster – 129 ½ lbs.
Referee: Laurence Cole; Judges: Sarah Atwood (Okla.), Jesse Reyes (Texas), David Sutherland (Okla.)
Featherweight 8-Round Bout
Irvin Gonzalez Jr. – 126 lbs.
Carlos Ramos – 125 ½ lbs.
Referee: Mike England; Judges: Mike Bower (Okla.), Henry Gueary (Kan.), Jesse Reyes (Texas)
Lightweight 8-Round Bout
Wesley Ferrer – 134 ¾ lbs.
Steven Ortiz – 134 ½ lbs.
Referee: Laurence Cole; Judges: Mike Bower (Okla.), Henry Ellick (Okla.), Henry Gueary (Kan.)
Super Featherweight 8-Round Bout
James Wilkins – 128 ½ lbs.
Misael Lopez – 128 ¾ lbs.
Referee: Mike England; Judges: Sarah Atwood (Okla.), David Sutherland (Okla.), Tim Tallchief (Okla.)
“I think I’m ready for a title fight now. I think that we’ve been doing really good work and the time is coming. If I get the opportunity after this fight, I’ll take it. I would fight Tevin Farmer or Ryan Garcia. I’m ready for something bigger.
“Every fight is different. Some fights I need to be really busy and sometimes I need to bring the power. It all depends. I look at myself more as a volume puncher than a power puncher. I like to wear my opponents down round by round.
“I’ve been on SHOWTIME twice and I’ve knocked out both of my opponents. Tomorrow night I will make it three for three.
“I’ve seen a few of Foster’s fights. He’s a fighter that knows how to use his distance and move around a lot. He will be my toughest opponent to date but I’ve fought guys with a similar style before.
“Boxing is gaining popularity all the time in Spain and I hope that my success makes others in Spain want to start boxing.
“I think Foster is going to be faithful to his style and use his distance and move a lot. I’m going to have to attack him and close off the ring. I have to be really intelligent because Foster is a really good counter-puncher and he’s fast. I just have to go to work.”
“My focus has improved since I’ve started working with my trainer, Bobby (Benton). I’ve improved a lot and my consistency is there. I’ve sharpened up and gotten back to the old me. I had strayed from the way I like to fight and now I’m back to the real O’Shaquie.
“SHOWTIME hasn’t seen the best of me yet. I wasn’t focused my last few fights and I had some bad performances on ShoBox. I’ve gotten all of my demons and bad activities out and now I’m one hundred percent focused on my boxing. I know that once I’m focused, nobody can beat me.
“Fernandez is making a big mistake taking this fight. I’ve never had trouble fighting against tall guys. I just have to use a lot of feints and a lot of movement and I don’t see him troubling me.
“I feel like I have a good team in place. I’ve gotten older, I’ve matured, and I’m as focused as I have ever been. I’ve been in the gym consistently for the last year. After my last fight, I took a few days off and was right back in the gym. This is my fourth fight in less than a year and I’m coming off one of my best performances.
“I made some mistakes away from the ring. I had to pull myself out of it and I wasn’t going to allow my talent to go to waste. This is a big fight for me and I have to prove that I still have a great future in boxing.”
IRVIN GONZALEZ JR.:
“Coming out of the amateurs, I knew I was going to make my mark in due time. I didn’t know if it would be this quickly. This is the whole goal. This is my first time on TV and I want to show my talent.
“Ramos knows how to box, he knows how to go in and out and use his angles, but I do see a lot of things that I can capitalize on. He does hold his right hand down low, and he likes to come over the top with an overhand left hand. He likes to stay out there, and he can get caught when he stays out there. I’m going to show him in the ring what he needs to work on in his craft.
“I can box, but I can also sit down on my punches and fight inside. I like to pick out my punches. It’s not like I’m going in there for the kill – if the kill comes, the kill comes – but I’m picking out my punches. If it comes with a knockout, it comes with the knockout.
“This is the toughest guy I’ve been in with as a pro. We know he’s lefty, we know he’s a pretty hard hitter. That’s pretty much all we know.
“I switch without even realizing, so fighting a southpaw won’t be a problem. I’m just so comfortable with it that it comes as second nature.”
“I’ve sparred hundreds of rounds with Jon Fernandez. I’m a very different fighter than JonFer. He’s a more come-forward fighter who attacks and tries to cut off the ring. I’m more of a technical boxer that tries to use the jab a lot.
“My style will all depend on how the fight flows. We have a plan to fight Irvin Gonzalez and we think it will be very effective tomorrow night.
“This is a good fight for my career and the type of fight that motivates me. I’m very excited for this opportunity and excited to be here in the United States. I think this will open up many bigger opportunities for me.”
“I’ve stayed busy in the gym since my last fight. I was in training camp with Robert Easter not too long ago. I had some ring rust in my last fight because of the layoff but that won’t be an issue this time.
“This is a big fight for my career. This is what’s going to get me to the next step in my career. I’m excited to show everybody who the real Wesley is.
“I can box, I can counter. It all depends on how I feel. If I put my mind on being a brawler, I can do that. If I put my mind to boxing, I can do that. It all depends on my opponent and what the fight plan is. We have a good fight plan for tomorrow night.
“Switching up my stance is something that I can do and something that I’ve been working on. Sometimes I do it without even thinking about it, and in my last fight I was more effective as a southpaw. It’s all about understanding when is the right time to do it.
“My preparation for this fight has been perfect. I have absolutely no issues and you guys will all see the best Wesley Ferrer.”
“I feel good, I’m ready to go. I don’t know much about Ferrer. I know sometimes he switches to southpaw but we’re just going to adapt to whatever he brings to the table.
“I’ve sparred hundreds of rounds with Tevin Farmer. If I can hit him, I feel like I can hit anybody. That gives me the confidence to face a guy like Ferrer.
“I use my height to my advantage but I’m also learning to fight on the inside. I like to bang, but boxing comes naturally to me. Working with guys like Tevin makes these other fights easy.
“I’m going to be smart, stay patient, use my jab. But if an opening comes I’m going to take advantage of it and try to hurt him. As long as I stay focused and disciplined this will be easy work.
“This is my first time fighting on live TV, this is a great opportunity for me and an experience I’m looking forward to. I just have to take it round by round.
“It’s about being more focused. My mindset before was never, ‘I want to knock them out’. Now, that’s a priority for me. I want to hurt them.”
“When I touch him, I promise you I’m going to knock him out. I’ve been under his skin for six weeks. Now that the fight isn’t in his hometown he’s scared to look me in the eyes.
“He’s definitely my toughest (opponent). He’s young, he’s undefeated. He’s been hyped up in Denver. But, if you ask me, I don’t think nothing of him. Denver is not Brooklyn.
“I’m bigger, I’m smarter, I’m faster. Everyone I fought hasn’t been stopped until I stopped them. I haven’t fought a 130-pounder yet and now that I am, this fight isn’t going past three rounds.
“I want to be in the top 10. I want to be a rising star. I want to be a world champ by the end of 2020. But I had to take a different route than other fighters. I have my goals and this is the next step. I’m kicking this door down.
“I’m different than a lot of young fighters. My boxing IQ after working with Roy (Jones) is through the roof. I had a good camp. I’m prepared and ready to live my dream and become a star.
“I’ve been working three times a day in the gym. I didn’t fight guys with losing records because I was hand-picking guys. I fought them because I wasn’t given an opportunity.”
“At first Wilkins got under my skin a little bit on social media, but we blocked it out. He’s a hot head. I think within the first few rounds he’ll come out wild and he’ll be easy for me to counter. It’s going to work against him.
“He’s never been three rounds, but more importantly he’s never fought a guy with a winning record.
“I’ve seen guys who come out aggressive. I just need to catch him, slow him down and he’ll be out.
“No disrespect to him. He’s a great boxer, he had a great amateur career. But this is our opportunity to take the next step.
“I’ve gotten a lot smarter in each fight. I’ve learned to settle down and pick my shots. I can adapt to any style. I’ve had fights where I’ve had to brawl, I’ve had fights I had to box.
“We sparred with Shakur Stevenson and got some solid rounds with him for this fight.”