The talented Texas native has been through hell and back and is brimming with confidence ahead of his world title showdown versus Rey Vargas Saturday night on SHOWTIME.
O’Shaquie Foster was the rambunctious type growing up. He would run around causing mayhem everywhere he went, including driving every trainer and fighter up a wall in the early stages of his introduction to boxing, unable to sit still or listen to anyone. He was so energetic that as an eight-year-old he once got kicked out of the gym.
The next day, undeterred, he went back.
Even at eight, Foster envisioned a future in boxing. There was an inner defiance about him, the whispering little voice that kept telling him to never quit. He carried an anger that needed to be dispensed somewhere. A boxing ring fit quite nicely. Through time, that rage was harnessed, honed and it’s reached a point where Foster has emerged as one of the world’s best super featherweights.
Five years ago, Foster was supposed to lose to the undefeated Jon Fernandez, and he didn’t. Last March, he supposed to lose to undefeated Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov, and he didn’t.
On Saturday night, Foster faces the biggest challenge of his career when he fights undefeated two-division champion Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC Super Featherweight World Championship in a PBC event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
There’s surely some, Foster (19-2, 11 KOs) knows, who don’t think he can beat Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs).
The 29-year-old with the thick Southern draw from Houston, Texas, doesn’t care.
“I love the challenge, I love being the underdog, I suppose maybe it’s because I’ve been the underdog my whole life,” Foster said. “I’m sure some people see those two losses in my career as the reason why they think I can’t beat Vargas. I wasn’t in that spotlight like Vargas. Yeah, you can say I keep defying the odds. I’m not supposed to beat Vargas—and I love it.
“It helps motivate me. It prevents me from being complacent. I love to throw people off. That’s my thing. I’ve always been looked down upon my whole life. It’s why I always had that chip on my shoulder. It started young. I’m going to keep it on my shoulder, through this fight and afterwards.”
Foster was once fearful his career would be derailed. Growing up in Orange, Texas, he grew up around the street game. When he wasn’t in the gym, he admits, he was in the streets. He saw the violence, he saw a lot of friends who are locked up, some that are dead, even a few uncles that are either dead or in prison trying to lead the street life.
Life was a fight. Foster fought it every day.
“I’m trying to give people who know me some hope that they can make it,” Foster said. “My biggest motivation when I started fighting, I wanted to bring the title belts to my mother.”
Foster never got that chance.
“ I’ll be ready for anything he brings. ” Super Featherweight Contender - O'Shaquie Foster
Christie Williams was 31 when she died of cancer. O’Shaquie was 12. He stayed with 10 other siblings in the home of his paternal grandmother, Evelyn Foster. He also bounced around staying with friends, family, old-head trainers from his gym. It took a village to raise Foster.
“Boxing was my escape, and I was always around the people who wanted to keep me straight,” he said.
He learned to depend on himself—because he’s going to be the only one in the ring with Vargas on Saturday night. Vargas will be moving up from 126, where the Mexico City native won the WBC title against Mark Magsayo at the Alamodome last July. Prior to that, Vargas won the vacant WBC super bantamweight title by majority decision over Gavin McDonnell in April 2017. He’s rangy, experience, dangerous, and hunting for history, hoping to join fellow Mexicans like Julio Cesar Chavez as three-division champions.
Foster would like nothing more than to spoil that quest. He enters the bout fighting the best of his career, owner of a nine-fight winning streak and who is slightly larger than Vargas, holding a one-inch height advantage (5-foot-8½ to 5-foot-7½) and a one-and-a-half-inch reach edge (72 to 70½).
He also enters the fight boiling with an understated confidence.
“He won’t show me anything that I haven’t seen in the ring before, I’ve had over 200 amateur fights,” Foster said of Vargas. “I’ll be ready for anything he brings. I fought the best of them. I’ve sparred the best of them. I beat the best of them. I found that out early. I was fighting kids with 100 fights when I was nine, and I was winning national titles over those kids.
“This is going to be an interesting fight. He had two world titles. The better the fighter, the better I am. I have something to prove. I have something to prove to the world. I wasn’t supposed to beat Jon Fernandez, this monster puncher. He was 5-foot-11 who was this knockout artist and look what I did to him. I fought these undefeated guys, and everyone was looking for me to slip up. No one really knows much about me. I see the eyes come out when they see me. I keep on looking at how I grew up, where I grew up and not going to be one of those guys around the city where people say, ‘He could have been.’ Well, I’m doing and winning. I’m going to make my own history on Saturday night. I don’t think there’s ever been a world champion from Orange, Texas.
“I want to be the first.”
The day of his mother’s funeral, he fought in the Golden Gloves—and won.
“It’s something my mother would have wanted me to do,” Foster said. “It’s a path that I have to follow. I’m already making my mother proud, and after I win, hopefully, she’ll be happy.”
For a closer look at O’Shaquie Foster, check out his fighter page.
- O'Shaquie Foster
- Vargas vs Foster