Steve Foster Jr., defends his English Featherweight title for the first time as he meets veteran former British Champion Gary Thornhill tonight as part of Sports Network's big MEN Arena card headed by the Hatton - Stewart IBF Junior Welterweight title eliminator. Many leading Manchester area boxers are also on the bill, which Sky Sports will be airing live in Britain starting at 10PM BST on SS1. Boxingtalk.com spoke with Steve as he prepared for what will likely turn out to be his most difficult fight to date and you won't want to miss what he had to say about this hotly anticipated matchup.
Steve Foster Jr. has won all sixteen of his professional contests including his most recent, a non title event which saw him outpoint French journeyman Jean Codet a little over two months ago. This time the twenty four year old gets a much more difficult assignment in what will be his first defense of the English belt he won in February. Gary Thornhill, 24-4-1(11) is a former British Featherweight Champion and his only losses have come at the hands of Scott Harrison, Michael Gomez, Justin Juuko and Nicky Cook.
Thornhill earned the nickname "Tornado" for his high volume attacking style and at thirty six years of age, will be motivated for what is likely his last opportunity at a title. Foster is well aware of his opponent's accomplishments and can't wait to test his skills against Thornhill. "Gary is a come forward fighter who likes to fight on the inside," he said, "and I prefer that because I can get my shots off better. I don't want to have to chase anyone around the ring so I'd rather opponents come at me. I know that Gary is going to try and out man me with his experience and age, he's going to try and rough me up."
Foster won the title that will be at stake this evening by stopping previously undefeated Sean Hughes this past February. The taller, lanky Hughes had some success keeping Foster at bay with his jab but by the sixth round Foster's sharp left hooks had ended the contest. "I don't think I had my best performance when I won the English title," said the Manchester native. "I was just too strong for the lad I boxed. It was a good experience for me though in that it was a title fight and I topped the Sky TV fight bill. I see the English title as a stepping stone for me. It was a buzz to win it but I don't think I got the best out of myself in that fight. I realize now that I have more experience, that you can't let anything get to you, you've just got to do what you have to do with total focus."
Foster, who is managed by his father Steve Foster Sr., a former fighter himself, has prepared well for the Thornhill fight tonight by sparring with former British and European Champion Michael Brodie among others. "It was good to spar with Michael as he's a very good fighter," said the unbeaten English titlist. "I've fully prepared to go ten rounds and I'm ready for a good hard fight."
Should Foster turn back the challenge of Thornhill, he'd like to step up to the next stage of his career as he has his eye on a well respected belt. "I definitely want the British title," he said. "It's a nice belt and to become British Champion is something I really want. If I can do that I'd like to pursue bigger titles but I'll just take it one step at a time. Right now I've got to beat Gary Thornhill and I'm really ready for this fight."
Boxingtalk.com would like to thank Steve Foster Jr., for making this article possible.
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