Lichfield flyweight, Brad Foster, will look back on 2016 as his breakthrough year in professional boxing.
The 19-year old enjoyed a busy 12 months, winning all of his five fights by unanimous decision before signing a three-year deal with promoter Frank Warren in November.
Ahead of his first fight of 2017, ‘The Blade’ outlined his ambitions to one day emulate the success of fellow Midlands boxer and current WBA Flyweight World Champion, Kal Yafai, whilst targeting a domestic title challenge of his own later this year.
“2016 was a really good first year for me,” explained Foster. “When you look back, it was five wins from five fights so I can’t really ask for anything more.
“It would have been nice to get a few stoppages but I got the wins and that’s what I’m in there to do, so I’m happy.
“I tend to leave the planning of my fights to my team but I want to be fighting for belts this year.
“I know I need to gain more experience first, I don’t ever think past the next fight but I’m in this sport to get to the very top and this year could be a big year for me.
“I think there’ll be more spotlight on the division now with Kal [Yafai] beating Concepcion.
“It’s a massive boost to the flyweight division and the area as well because we’ve got some great fighters coming through who can look at what he’s done.
“He’s like a role model for me, I want to try to be as good as him and achieve what he has.
“I’ve actually done some sparring with Kal and he’s a world class fighter so one day I want the fights he’s getting now.
“It’s about learning from him because he’s got experience at World level now.
“I’m still a baby in the game at 19 so I’ll keep taking one fight at a time and taking bits from training, from fights and try to soak it all up like a sponge.”
A nine-time kickboxing World Champion, Foster switched to the paid ranks in December 2015 and with the help of his team (Richard Waller, Simon Akufo and Paul Collins) found the transition smoother than expected.
“I’ve got a great group of people behind me who have been with me from day one.
“Along with my Dad (Martin Foster) who takes me training and sorts my diet out with nutritionist Jordon Higgins, they’re the best people to listen to and we’ve got that trust where they give me feedback and criticism when it’s needed.
“I’m my own worst critic and although I was pleased with my last win there’s always things I can work on.
“It’s not been too different but to start with, it was the footwork that I had to get to grips with.
“I think I’m getting there now but I think it’s important that I fight different styles at this point because it’s all part of my education.
“Whether it’s boxing or kickboxing, I like to think I’m an entertaining fighter who leaves it all in the ring. I always go in there to give my best and hopefully my fans have a good time and come and support me.
“They’re the ones who spend their hard earned money following me and I’ve had great support from all over.
“From Stafford or Lichfield where my family and school mates are, Birmingham where I train, Northfield, Kingsheath, Sutton; they all get behind me and I can’t thank them enough.
“I want to be a world champion one day and I want to be in the big fights. I’ve got to stay grounded but hopefully I’ll achieve the dream and they can come along with me.”
‘Battleground’, Black Country Boxing’s four-fight event on February 17th, is sponsored by Grosvenor Casino Walsall. It will see Foster feature alongside Halesowen’s explosive super middleweight Lennox Clarke, West Bromwich’s professional debutant Josh Stokes and Swadlincote super-lightweight, Connor Parker, at Walsall Football Club’s Banks’s Stadium.
Standard tickets priced at £35, are available by calling the boxers. £60 VIP tickets for tables of ten, with meal, are available by calling Walsall FC Box Office on 01922 651 414/416.