O’Shaquie Foster-Miguel Roman: 130-pound contenders seek triumph after tragedy

OShaquie Foster vs Jon Fernandez Mandel 770x513 150x150 - O’Shaquie Foster-Miguel Roman: 130-pound contenders seek triumph after tragedy

Thursday’s clash between O’Shaquie Foster and Miguel ‘Mickey’ Roman is more than just a crossroads bout. It is another chance for both fighters, each of whom has overcome tragedy and or an obstacle in their personal lives, to make good.

The Foster-Roman winner will inch closer to a world title shot with a decisive win at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. The 10-round bout will headline an NBC Sports Network telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

At Wednesday’s weigh-in, Foster came in at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds. Roman, who is rated No. 9 by The Ring at junior lightweight, weighed 129.5.

Thursday’s card will mark the debut of “Ring City USA”, a new boxing broadcast and content platform. This will be the first of several telecasts on the NBC Sports Network that will take place on Thursdays throughout 2021. “Ring City USA” will work with several promoters, including DiBella Entertainment, Golden Boy Promotions, Mexico-based Promociones del Pueblo and Global Boxing Stars.

Foster (17-2, 10 knockouts), who now resides in Houston, Texas, last fought on December 5, defeating Puerto Rico’s Alberto Mercado by unanimous decision. He has now won his last seven bouts since losing by split-decision to Ronald Chinea in July 2016.

A win over Roman would legitimize the 27-year-old as a solid contender, a far cry from where his career was around the time of the Chinea loss. Four days before that fight, Jimmy Franks, a cousin of Foster, died after getting shot in the head in their hometown of Orange, located east of Houston. Eight months after the loss, Foster spent four months in jail following an aggravated assault conviction.

After his release, Foster decided to move to Houston, where he began working with longtime trainer Bobby Benton.

Following many personal tragedies, including losing his mother to cancer at the age of 12, the fighter now finds himself in a great place.

“I’ve got ice water in my veins,” said Foster, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “I’m here to shock the world and show I’m here to stay.”

Miguel Roman Orlando Salido 02 Photo credit Ed Mulholland HBO Boxing 635 - O’Shaquie Foster-Miguel Roman: 130-pound contenders seek triumph after tragedy

Miguel Roman (left) vs. Orlando Salido. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ HBO Boxing

Roman (62-13, 47 KOs) has not fought since defeating former junior bantamweight titleholder Tomas Rojas on September 7 of last year. He has won his last two bouts since losing by knockout to WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt in November 2018.

A win over Foster could usher in a fourth world title challenge in a career that began in 2003.

Just two years into that career, tragedy struck the Roman family outside their home in the Primero de Septiembre neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez. His brother was shot and killed in yet another act of gang violence that has plagued the city on the U.S.-Mexico border.

While some believe his best days are behind him, Roman is confident that he can get the job done and notch a win over Foster.

“We defeated our first rival of fight week, which is the scale,” said Roman, who is promoted by Promociones del Pueblo. “We look forward to tomorrow when we will win the fight.”

A clash between lightweights from Mexico will open the telecast as William Zepeda (21-0, 19 KOs) of San Mateo Atenco will face Tijuana’s Roberto Ramirez (23-2-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

Zepeda weighed 135 pounds, while Ramirez weighed 134.

 

Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing

 

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