HOUSTON — In the sport of boxing, phrases like, skills pay the bills and no guts no glory is often used to motivate the athlete. The discipline it takes to compete at the highest level of the sport is unexplainable. However, an attribute that’s paid dividends for Houston’s, O’Shaquie Foster is, patience. He’s patiently waited for his opportunity to compete for a world title. The wait is over! February 11, Foster (19-2) will take on Rey Vargas (36-0) for the WBC Super Featherweight title live on Showtime. Foster has won 9 consecutive fights to earn this title shot, with his last defeat coming back in 2016 via controversial split decision. Despite not getting his championship opportunity sooner, Foster stayed prepared for when opportunity knocks. Although, he understands it won’t be easy handing Vargas his first defeat in 36 fights, he’s ready for the task at hand and claims to be in the best shape of his life.
Foster talks to Zenger News about his past frustrations fueling his preparation, what winning a world championship would mean to him, and much more.
Zenger: How are you doing?
Foster: I’m doing good, man.
Zenger: I have followed the journey for a long time; you have been waiting on an opportunity like this. I recall your frustrations on Twitter of not being able to get the big fights or a title fight. Now that it’s here, what does it mean to you?
Foster: It means the world. I’ve always wanted to be a world champion. It feels great to have a chance to make history myself. Words can’t even explain it. I’m just ready.
Zenger: How do you compose yourself and taper down for the home stretch?
Foster: We right on schedule. Right now I’m just counting the days. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to see bro on the other side of the ring of me. We putting in the work, we done put in the work, and right now, I’m just counting down.
Zenger: Frustrations and long layoffs in some cases could lead to fighters becoming lazy, aggravated, and we see a drop off in focus. What has kept you grounded and focused for the mission at hand?
Foster: I would say everything that I went through in the past. I wouldn’t want to go back to that situation, so I’m making sure I’m ready for this opportunity. It has always been on my mind, even through the hard times and frustrations I have always tried to preach patience to myself. I knew if I stayed down that opportunity would come.
Zenger: Rey Vargas on February 11, live on Showtime. He is 36-0, so he is a puzzle that no one has figured out yet. What do you feel you need to do to be the first one to hand him a defeat?
Foster: The key to defeating him is going in there and being myself. Showing everything that I got. I’ll make the adjustments when I’m in the ring. I don’t want to give away too much. I’m definitely ready!
Zenger: You have faced several undefeated fighters in the past with much success; every opponent is different. What do you see in Vargas as an opponent?
Foster: I think he’s a smart fighter. His height and hand speed has taken him far. I think he’s pretty smart with how he moves around the ring. I see a few things I can take advantage of.
Zenger: What have you learned from being around The Charlo Brother’s, Regis Prograis, and that Houston crew?
Foster: Consistency! Being consistent, staying locked in, staying focused, channeling out the outside noise, things like that. I watch these guy’s work hard. When it’s time to lock in they lock in. They’re always in shape. That’s some of the things I take advantage of. I’ve always been one of the most talented guys, I just had to put the work ethic behind it.
Zenger: When this opportunity presented itself, what was your initial reaction?
Foster: I jumped on this opportunity for sure. I keep a chip on my shoulder. It didn’t matter who it was, I was coming to take over. Just keeping tabs of everything that went on, watching the doubters, and seeing how long it has taken for me to get this shot, I keep that chip on my shoulder and it fuels me.
Zenger: Given the magnitude of this fight, headlining, Showtime, more media obligations, world title on the line, any of those things factor in to your approach for this fight?
Foster: I’ve stayed the same. I’ve been locked in for the last few years, but I’ve turned it up a notch for this fight, training and everything. I’m way more locked in and focused than I have ever been. I’m in the best shape of my life. I definitely took this opportunity and turned it up all the way. We’re not leaving nothing on the table. We’re coming in to take over.
Zenger: With this title shot 21 fights into your career, are you on par to where you wanted to be at this stage of your career, a little ahead, or a little behind?
Foster: I feel like it’s the right time. It’ the perfect time. I’m mentally and physically mature. It would have been cool to get it sooner, but I’m grateful for the opportunity. I didn’t even have to be here, so I want to take advantage of it.
Zenger: So many fights seem to be difficult to secure at points in this sport, from the outside looking in, it appears this fight with Vargas was a pretty smooth transition. Would that be an accurate statement?
Foster: It was definitely smooth. When you have two fighters that really want it, and really want to make the fight, I feel like it’ll happen. There were no hiccups. He wanted it; I wanted it, so it happened smooth to me. It was easy.
Zenger: Given your path to this title shot and what all you endured to be here, what would be the perfect case scenario for you on February 11?
Foster: Just winning that title. That would be perfect enough for me. I fought so hard to get in this position, trained so hard, went through so many things. Just having that title in my hands would be the perfect story for me. I can’t wait. Words can’t even explain it.
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