O’Shaquie Foster vs Abraham Nova fight analysis
Texan titlist O’Shaquie ‘Ice Water’ Foster (21-2, 12KOs) is ready to make a second defence of his WBC super-featherweight belt in the hallowed halls of the Madison Square Garden Theatre, sharing the ring with fan-favourite Abraham Nova (23-1, 16 KOs) on February 16, live on ESPN.
It’s a matchup between skill versus power, but which attribute will triumph over the other to lift the prestigous green and gold?
Defending champion Foster has had an impressive undefeated run at super-featherweight and has now firmly placed himself as one of the division’s best, where there are four other champions – Lamont Roach (WBA); Joe Cordina (IBF); Emanuel Navarette (WBO); Anthony Cacace (IBO).
After a phenomenal amateur career, competing in over 100 bouts from the age of eight, becoming a five-time Ringside National champion and double Golden Gloves champion, Foster finally appears to be living up to the expectations he created for himself in his early days. His two pro career defeats came within his first 12 fights – both on points – while he was still learning his trade.
The American’s last outing saw him clutching a win out of thin air in the final minutes of the contest, which was awarded the WBC Fight of the Year 2023. Coming into the 12th round, following an incredible 11th round of back and forth action, clearly behind on points to hard-hitting Eduardo ‘Rocky’ Hernandez, his WBC title reign looked to be in tatters having barely even started, but then two knockdowns and a referee intervention kept his legacy at 130 pounds alive with just 22 seconds to go! ‘Rocky’ had fatigued after such an energetic effort, he bagan to back up in the championship rounds after spending all fight long on the front foot, but the champion showed he is clearly able to beat the odds and pull out a win from nowhere; ‘Ice Water’ is a man who can never be counted out.
Despite his last KO victory, 30-year-old Foster is not known as a heavy-hitter, with only 12 KOs from 23 bouts, but he can finish a fight when he sees the opportunity to. Preferring to box on the outside and land sharp clean combinations from range, pairing this with an elusive defence, ‘Shock’ boxes off the backfoot and uses his lead left jab to keep his foes at bay. When caught up close, he handles the pressure well, catching shots on his gloves and elbows to calmly fire back short, sharp combinations of his own, most notably left and right hooks. Despite not being an inside fighter, he is skilled up close.
His best performance perhaps comes from the fight in which he was crowned as the WBC champion. He entered the ring against two-weight world champion Rey Vargas as a slight underdog, although watching the fight you would have been led to believe otherwise.
Vargas, a man who shares an equal love for fighting on the outside, not your typical Mexican fighter, looked like he was punching at shadows for the majority of the fight. The Texan put all his skills on display, working behind a snappy jab to set up power punches while utilising an effective long guard to keep the bookies favourite at bay for the majority of the bout.
His man across the ring in February, ‘El Super’ Nova, has a tough night ahead of him in his maiden world title shot, which has perhaps presented itself a little early.
The Puerto Rican is coming in off the back of a fantastic third-round stoppage win over 35-1 Jonathan Romero, and will be looking to carry on his dangerous form into this biggest fight of his career.
WBC #12 Nova has become a favourite among fans of the lighter weight classes. An exciting pressure fighter, the 30-year-old works well on the inside loading up vicious hooks and uppercuts, mixing his selections nicely between body and head.
Perhaps, not only one of his best performances but also a breathtaking 30 minutes in the ring, Nova showcased exactly why he has become a fan favourite in early 2023, obtaining a dominant points decision win over Adam Lopez early last year. ‘El Super’ knocked his adversary down twice in a 10-round thriller where he took no time off, constantly applying pressure and throwing thunderous looping combinations from the first bell to the last.
While Lopez is a fantastic fighter and a credible scalp to add to Nova’s resume, ‘Shock’ will prove a huge step up in class for ‘El Super’. He has never faced a man with the ring craftsmanship and experience possessed by his American counterpart. The last time he stepped up in quality to this level was against Robeisy Ramirez, who went on to claim the WBO World featherweight title. Unfortunately for the New York-based boxer, he was unable to subdue the Cuban suffering from a fifth-round knockout loss.
Nova is currently ranked WBC #12 and is a 6/1 outsider at the bookies, so he is the clear underdog as the skill and experience of the champion is being heavily favoured of the power of the challenger.
While from a purely technical standpoint, O’Shaquie Foster appears to be lightyears ahead of his in-fighting counterpart, I would argue that the fight will be much more intriguing than it looks on paper, going back to the old adage, “styles make fights”.
Nova will undoubtedly look to put the pressure on early and overwhelm the reigning champion. I think it will come down to whether ‘Shock’ can stay on the outside and not get dragged into fighting the Puerto Rican’s fight, but he can more than match his challenger if it comes to inside fighting, but that would suit Nova who is a threat up close and punches harder.
I predict that while there might be some hairy moments for the Texan, ultimately his defence and rangy jab will do the talking and ‘Ice Water’ Foster will walk away with a relatively clear points victory.