By James Blears
It has been said by a geographically misguided few, that WBC super featherweight champion O’Shaquie Foster is venturing into the lion’s den, by coming on down to Benito Juarez Sports Center Cancun, on Saturday October 28th, for the first defense of his Green and Gold Belt, against power puncher Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez.
However, wild lions haven’t been seen in these climes or neck of the tundra, since the last Ice Age.
The solitary, stealthy, lantern jawed jaguar, which crushes the skulls of caymans like eggshells with its powerful jaws, fortified by such a fright bite, is far more at home here in the sultry jungles and hinterlands. You seldom see it coming, until it pounces. What a hunter!
This one is a classic matchup/clash of a craftsman Vs a demolition man. O’Shaquie aged thirty, was the first fighter to defeat lanky Rey Vargas, which is no mean feat. He did so convincingly via UD for the vacant title.
He debuted as a pro way back in 2012. His record is 20-2, 11 KO’s. The defeats came early in his career against Samuel Teah with a UD loss in 2015. And a split decision loss against Rolando Chinea a year later. Since then, all wins. He’s a useful, precise but not big puncher with a fifty five percent KO ratio. A particularly notable UD victory was against then undefeated Jon Fernandez back in 2018. That was for the WBC Silver Title.
Like a fine wine, O’Shaquie, who’s nicknamed “Ice Water” and “King Shock” has matured with age, becoming savvy, subtle, wily and cunning. He can fight off the ropes, is sound defensively and wastes few punches. He stays in excellent shape and although he’s occasionally fought at lightweight, he’s comfortable at super feather. He’s the champion and brimming with confidence. He’s looking forward to venturing into and gaining from Cancun. No suggestion of: “Dr Foster went to Gloucester!
Eduardo Hernandez, nicknamed Rocky, in the master blaster tradition of Marciano and Graziano, is still aged twenty-five and from Mexico City, but now lives in Las Vegas. He pro debuted in 2014. Ed used to be a regular at WBC press conferences in the Capital. Shy and reserved away from the madding crowd, he’s a holy terror inside of the ring, when roared on by it. His record is 34-1, with 31 KO’s. That’s a stoppage percentage of 91.8 percent! Akin to a Jekyll and Hyde, or in the comic book tradition, Jimmy Jekyll and Master Hyde.
In his callow years, Eduardo was sometimes prone to floods of tears, after releasing, exerting and inflicting all that pent up thunderbolt energy. But that was long ago and far away. He won the WBC Youth title and successfully defended it five times, all stoppages.
Everything appeared hunky dory, and then…. Roger Gutierrez caught him cold and stopped him in the first round. Ouch! Since then, he’s bounced back with six stoppage victories, including winning the WBC International Silver title, with a one minute thirty six seconds KO of Jorge Castañeda last year, so here we are. Will O’Shaquie be able to withstand getting caught with a cascade of hailstones and cobblestones in Cancun? Or might Rocky again get careless, be exposed and dearly pay the price.
It certainly won’t be dull!
Cancun has developed apace over the years as a boxing mecca. It’s hosted two World Boxing Council Conventions, A WBC heavyweight title fight between Samuel Peter and Oleg Maskaev, a WBC Medical Seminar and a WBC Female Convention. There was also Night of the Champions, The Mayan paradise had been battered, mauled and chewed by Hurricane Katrina, but it dusted itself off, got back up…and how! Shaken, stirred but still in the mix!
Pepe Gomez’s Cancun Boxing has been very active in the Mayan Rivera with some veritable thrillers. The titanic barnstormer of Edgar Sosa Vs local lad Wilbert Uicab for the WBC Silver and WBC International light flyweight titles at the extraordinary Grand Oasis Hotel, famed for its stilt walkers and aerial gymnastic shows. Wilberto dropped Edgar with a mighty right in round one. Stunned Edgar got up in a haze/daze and then moments later the bell rang. Edgar returned the compliment in round xix and went on to win a UD.
Arguably the most thrilling night was when Pepe dug deep and enticed formidable WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura all the way from Japan to Cancun’s Bullring. His challenger was another local likely lad, the ferocious, yet affable Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson. Oh what a night! Takashi dropped Sergio hard in round two. He felled Sergio again, this time in round six. But Yeyo…simply wouldn’t give in! Grimacing, scowling, and biting down hard on his mouth guard, he grimly launched his own grandstand onslaught in round eight and… down went Takashi! The shocked and flustered Japanese southpaw power puncher regained his feet and retained his title by UD. What an extraordinary and fantastic fight it was!
This time and for this event, there are plenty of promotional reinforcements. Matchroom Boxing, led by Eddie Hearn, arm in arm with Pepe y Cancun Boxing, Boxing Time with Memo Rocha and Promociones Del Pueblo led by Oswaldo Kuchle.
It’s going to be a night to remember as the shell horns of the dancers dressed like antlered deer, iguanas and prowling jaguars eerily summon the two warriors to this pitched battle, within a stone’s throw of the sugar white sand, dappled by the turquoise, balmy waters of the Caribbean. Also, the bay in front of the hotel strip which is reputed to nestle crocodiles! But I’ve seen people water skiing there!
Pepe always extends an open invitation. So, it’s NOT one to miss!