Brad Foster (14-2-2, 5 KOs) suffered his second consecutive defeat as he lost by unanimous decision to Ionut Baluta, at York Hall, last Friday night.
‘The Blade’ had endured the same fate seven months previous against Jason Cunningham, with the British, Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight titles at stake.
On both occasions, Foster believed he had done enough to win. A case could be made for him being victorious against Cunningham, as there were several swing rounds over the course of the fight.
However, Baluta appeared to be a deserved winner, as Foster failed to establish his rhythm against the Romanian buzzsaw.
Foster’s lack of amateur experience has resulted in him learning on the job. The fact that he has captured British and Commonwealth titles, as well as giving a good account of himself at European level, in just 18 fights is remarkable.
The 24-year-old has demonstrated a willingness to take on all comers, as a result, he is unlikely to look to be matched carefully as he starts the rebuilding process.
Here are five potential opponents Foster could face as he looks to get back into title contention:
Joe Ham (17-3, 6 KOs)
The 30-year-old has solid amateur pedigree, having represented Scotland at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, the Glaswegian has failed to replicate his success as a professional. Ham has beaten those he was expected to, and fallen short when he has stepped up in class against Tyrone McCullagh, Qais Ashfaq and Jack Bateson. The aforementioned trio all had distinguished careers in the unpaid ranks, given Foster’s lack of experience, perhaps Ham would fancy his changes of securing a career-defining win. Foster will believe he has already beaten superior fighters, but the Scotsman would represent a test, albeit one ‘The Blade’ would be expected to pass.
Chris Bourke (10-1, 6 KOs)
The big-punching southpaw had been travelling in Foster’s slipstream. Bourke handled common opponent James Beech Jr with greater ease than ‘The Blade’. The Londoner then challenged for the vacant British super-bantamweight title which had previously been in the possession of Foster, prior to his defeat to Cunningham. The Londoner’s title tilt was ultimately unsuccessful, as he lost by unanimous decision against Marc Leach. Both Bourke and Foster fight under the Queensberry Promotions banner and Frank Warren has displayed a willingness to match his fighters against each other in the past. If Foster’s ultimate goal is to take on Jason Cunningham once more, facing a southpaw beforehand would increase his chances of success if he were to secure the rematch.
Terry Le Couviour (16-1, 2 KOs)
Le Couviour is in many ways the perfect opponent for a fighter to face after consecutive defeats. The Frenchman has a nice record, albeit against low-level opposition, is a light puncher, possesses a style which would likely suit Foster and has only lost to Jason Cunningham. ‘The Blade’ could make a statement if he were able to halt Le Couviour quicker than the six rounds it took the European champion to dispatch of the challenger. It is unlikely that there are many lucrative options available for Le Couviour at present, which could make a fight with Foster an appealing option.
Ramez Mahmood (12-2, 2 KOs)
The world’s hardest math teacher, Ebanie Bridges may disagree, but I stand by the statement. Mahmood is not afraid of taking on a challenge, back-to-back fights against the then-unbeaten Chris Bourke and Jack Bateson are testament to that fact. As such, ‘The Mathemagician’ is unlikely to shy away from a bout with Foster. The 27-year-old was unsuccessful against the aforementioned pair, but made sure both fights were competitive, losing by decision on each occasion. Foster would be a heavy favourite against Mahmood, but would unlikely to have things all his own way. In many ways, the ideal comeback fight.
Michael Ramabeletsa (18-19, 8 KOs)
The Preston-based South African is a better boxer than his record suggests. Ramabeletsa has never had things easy, often taking fights at short-notice and almost exclusively in the away corner. ‘The Troublemaker’ has previously faced two fighters that went on to capture world titles; Kal Yafai and Paul Butler. However, at 40-years-old, Ramabeletsa’s best days are undoubtedly behind him. A two- fight losing streak, against Chris Bourke and Brett Fidoe, certainly do not help Ramabeletsa’s chances of landing the Foster fight, but in his favour, he is cheap, willing and likely to lose; the Holy trifecta for matchmakers. Arguably, Fidoe would be a better choice, given that he held foster to a draw in 2017 and has registered two consecutive wins, but his record of 17-69-5 is a much harder sell, particularly if Foster’s return is scheduled close to the top of the bill.