Boxing recently made its long-awaited return to our screens when British and Commonwealth champion Brad Foster headlined the Queensbury Promotions show from the BT Studio in Stratford. Frank Warren pipped his arch-rival, Eddie Hearn, to the post by airing the first boxing event post-lockdown with Brad Foster v James Beech Jr.
The British Boxing Board of Control has limited events to just five fights per card with no live audience and a number of PPE measures in place. Perhaps predictably, the card was not stacked with big named fighters or mouth-watering fights.
However, there were stoppage victories for heavyweight prospect David Adeleye who took just two rounds to dispatch his man. While lightweight Mark Chamberlain looked impressive in a first-round TKO win against the always game Stu Greener.
Unbeaten prospect Hamzah Sheeraz didn’t have it all his own way early on but forced yet another stoppage victory after dominating later in his super-welterweight contest against Scottish champion Paul Kean.
Elsewhere on the undercard, another heavyweight Dorin Krasmaru got a points victory over journeyman Phil Williams.
Brad Foster v James Beech Jr: the main event
The main event saw impressive super bantamweight champion, Brad Foster, face off against a fighter with an almost identical record.
Going into the fight Foster had 12 victories with just two draws while his opponent, James Beech Jr, had won all of his 12 contests – albeit against much lesser opposition. Foster and Beech were not strangers, having shared many rounds of sparring together since turning professional.
Beech acknowledged the skillset of his would-be opponent, describing his fighting style as similar to a wasp; “Hard to hit and stings.”
Despite their obvious respect for one another, once the bell rang it was a dog fight. Foster, the switch hitter, was spiteful with his shots and unleashed savage combinations.
The underdog Beech would not go quietly
Keeping a tight guard in anticipation of counter punches, he pushed forward and bravely traded with the champion. Beech was cut in the fourth round with a slicing left hand but kept his composure. He threw perhaps his best shot of the fight in the seventh round when he caught Foster in southpaw stance with a commanding right hook.
Foster was cut himself in the eighth round, but the injury only seemed to increase his willpower as he upped the pace yet again. By the championship rounds, it was clear that Foster was well ahead on points and, despite his bravery, Beech had all but run out of steam.
The champion finished as strongly as he had started and had Beech almost in trouble with a fury of uppercuts to end the contest. The judges scored the fight 117-111 (x2) and 116-113 all in favour of the champion Brad Foster who can now claim the Lonsdale belt outright.
The show was peculiar in many ways, with casual fans seeing and hearing punches without the adulteration of a large crowd and the noise and influence that goes with them.
However, it was undeniably a triumph, not only for Frank Warren but also for the sport in uncertain times. Engaging contests, fair commentary and championship fights, there was nothing not to like. Eddie Hearn, you’re up next…!