PJ Rowson: No rush for emerging star Foster

Manager PJ Rowson believes his fighter, Brad Foster, is more than capable of winning a world title, but insists there is no need to rush the 22-year-old.

Foster (13-0-2, 5 KOs) recently won the Lonsdale Belt outright having made four successful defences (three wins and a draw) of his British super-bantamweight title.

To have achieved so much at such a young age, in so few fights is undeniably impressive, but the feat is all the more astonishing when you consider that Foster turned professional without a single amateur fight.

While Rowson believes that Foster is the most talented boxer he has managed in his two decades in the sport, he knows his fighter still has a lot to learn.

“I would say Brad Foster will be a world champion,” Rowson told Boxing Social. “There’s nothing to give me an indication that he won’t be a world champion, but – I say this so many times, to all my fighters – timing outside the ring is just as important as timing inside the ring. The right opportunities at the right times.

“Brad Foster is an anomaly when it comes to professional boxing, there’s no getting around it. The lad turning professional and having his first fight just after his 18th birthday, with no amateur background, is more than a little bit unusual. He had a wonderful kickboxing career and it’s now well documented that he preferred to use his hands more than his feet, but he took to boxing like a duck to water.

“He has put a lot of hard work in to get to where he is. We have to consider that he had nine small-hall fights and his 10th fight was a [Midlands] Area title fight. His next five have all been British title fights. So, of his fifteen-fight career, no amateur [bouts], six of them have been title fights! That’s an amazing statistic. “

Foster’s excellent championship form belies his lack of amateur experience.
Photo: Queensberry Promotions.

Rowson would like Foster to build on the experience he has gained from fighting the likes of Leon Gower, Josh Wale, Ashley Lane, Lucien Reid and James Beech Jr. Despite the number of capable professional opponents ‘The Blade’ has already faced, Rowson is aware that there are numerous styles his fighter is yet to encounter. 

Rowson wants to ensure that once Foster reaches world level that he is prepared for any challenge he may face.

“Everyone is looking forward and wants to know where Brad is going next,” he said. “I’m very mindful of boxers’ careers and what’s the right path. I personally, would like to see Brad sustain his position where he is. I’m not saying defend the British [title] or anything like that but stay at this sort of level before we move on.

“People have asked about the European, they’ve asked about world titles, I think a good grounding would be to look at increasing his standing within the world rankings with whatever opportunities we can get with the different sanctioning bodies. As we all know, there’s a number of them out there now. If we can gain experience and rankings by having fights around that level, that would be terrific.

“I don’t think fighters get their full man-strength until the age of 23, Brad’s only 22 and look what he’s already achieved. A couple of fights, get him a world ranking, get him in position, acclimatise him and prepare him. Then I think we’ll be ready to knock on that door and see where we go.”

Despite his early success, Rowson believes that Foster is still a work in progress. Yet the 22-year-old continues to impress Rowson with his ability to adapt and learn.

Having watched hours of Foster sparring, Rowson is adamant that fans are yet to see what ‘The Blade’ is capable of achieving.

“I still do not know the depth of Brad Foster,” said Rowson. “That’s a very truthful comment. Most fighters, you can suggest things: ‘You need to work on this more,’ and you can go away and bring in specialists to teach them something different. It can take three months perhaps to get things right. With Brad Foster, you give him a new challenge and two weeks later you go and see him and it’s like he’s been doing it all his life. It’s phenomenal, it’s outrageous, it’s unheard of! It’s a pleasure to watch this young man develop. He’s got this wonderful smile, he does it all with a smile on his face.

“Brad Foster is still learning, make no bones about it. He’s still on the climb. I see a different Brad each time I go to watch him. I do believe that the public still haven’t seen where he’s at right now. His performances have been tremendous, but they’ve not been what I’ve seen. If he can achieve what he’s done without hitting the 100 per cent performance mark, and let me tell you he’s showing nowhere near that in his TV opportunities, there’s still a lot more to come from this guy.”

Foster has signed to a long-term promotional contract with Frank Warren, a promoter with a proven track record for leading emerging talent to the top of the sport. Rowson is confident that Foster will join the long list of fighters that Warren has promoted to world title glory.

“Teams make things happen,” said Rowson. “We’ve got the backing and the support of Frank Warren, a Hall of Fame promoter; we’ve got the best matchmaker out there in the business at the moment in Jason McClory; we’ve got a trainer who’s dedicated to Brad 100 per cent in his father, Martin Foster; we’ve got a lad who learns and listens and comes up with something new every time. It’s a nice team effort that’s going in the right direction. Long may it continue.”

Main image: Queensberry Promotions.