Brad Foster (12-0-2, 5KOs) defends his British and Commonwealth bantamweight titles to challenger James Beech Jr (12-0, 2KOs), in an attempt to win the Lonsdale belt outright.
The pair will kick off Queensberry Promotion’s summer season on July 10, headlining a five-fight card televised live from the BT Sport studios in Stratford.
Both boxers were born in Walsall and each have 12 wins coming into the contest. The glaring disparities between the two fighters is the different levels they have operated at, with Foster having had his last four fights at British championship level and one prior to that quartet at Midlands Area level, which is the highest stage that Beech Jr has performed at.
However, he has more than proved his worth at that level having won the Midlands title at super featherweight and featherweight.
Foster’s last five fights have been championship contests and he now has 86 rounds of experience under his belt – nearly half of those rounds (42) have been in British title fights.
James Beech, despite boasting the same number of victories, can’t match the experience of Foster. He has just 66 rounds of professional action and only 19 of those in championship contests. He has not yet gone the full 12-round distance.
Standing at 5ft 8”, Beech’s biggest advantage will be his superior height and reach. The power will lie with the champion though, with more than double the KO count on his side.
James Beech Jr has a nice boxing style. He likes to double up the jab and has a powerful overhand right, which he draws opponents on to. He has quick feet, as is common with the lighter weights, but he can use his footwork well to get out of trouble.
He can be guilty of inactivity at times, sometimes waiting too long to get his work off. However, he is spiteful despite his low KO count. He has good power in that clubbing right hand of his. His ninth-round finish against Foster’s teammate Louis Fielding (8-5) to win the Midlands super featherweight belt was something special.
His previous fight in December last year with Luke Jones (6-2-1) was quite a duel, with barely anything separating the two. Jones really pressed the action towards the end, but Beech just nicked it with a single point.
This will be Beech’s super bantamweight debut, as well as his first step up to national level.
In order to become a British champion, ‘The Blade’ comprehensively outboxed one of Britain’s most successful bantamweights of recent times when he scored a unanimous decision victory over English and British bantamweight champion Josh Wale (27-10-2) in 2019 from the away corner in Barnsley.
Just two month later, he defended the title against Commonwealth super bantamweight champion Ashley Lane (13-8-2) in May, decking Lane in the first and last rounds to win via TKO in the 12th round.
Then he met mandatory challenger Lucien Reid (8-0-1) in September that same year in what was his third 12-round British title fight in six months. That contest ended in a draw, which Reid was very upset about claiming he was robbed. It was a very close fight, but Reid definitely had a case for complaint.
Foster kept his belt, just, but admitted to feeling tired after such a busy campaign. He had a rest, went back to the drawing board, and returned to the ring rejuvenated and improved. His game plan and work rate to retire Reid in six rounds was highly impressive. He was strong and inspired, closed the distance down against a fleet-footed, tricky operator and chopped at Reid with vicious right hands all night. It was an emphatic win and displayed his ability to correct his mistakes, he smothered the flashy Reid’s work and battered him into submission.
The performance that night places him as the clear favourite in this forthcoming contest. If he continues to show improvements, then talk of world level will soon follow.
I don’t think people realise just how good Foster really is, and I also don’t think we’ve seen everything the unbeaten 22-year-old has to offer yet. ‘The Blade’ is just going to get better and better with each fight.
Foster will very likely take the role of the champion and start on the front foot, forcing Beech Jr to box off the back foot, which I’m sure their team are fully expectant of and will have planned for.
Foster’s guard will be airtight, and that right hand of Beech will be hitting gloves for the first few rounds, I’m sure.
Foster’s greater skill and power should wear Beech down, but his swift movement and speed should make him hard to catch early. Foster’s game plan would surely be to close the challenger down, to get close and smother his work like he did with Reid.
I would expect Beech to be aiming to box on the outside and to utilise his jab efficiently and excessively. He will not want to be on the end of those short, chopping right hands of the champion’s.
I anticipate the fight being a contest between an experienced national champion and a local champion. I predict the disparity in quality will show. Not only is Foster an experienced British champion, but he is also on his way up to, I truly believe, much greater things.
Beech is still at a lower level than Foster, but the experience of a British title training camp, the 12-round contest itself, the TV cameras and the prestige and professionalism of a Frank Warren show, albeit in an empty TV studio, will all be invaluable knowledge to put Beech in good stead for the future, where I’m sure he’ll return to this level again.
Brad Foster’s vaster championship experience, the added drive to retain that beautiful belt outright, the momentum he has from his career-best win in February, I believe, will be enough to get him the win over two-weight Midlands champ James Beech Jr.
Initially, I was leaning toward a points win to Foster, with a stoppage quite possible too, but now I’m quite sure it will end inside the distance.
I think there could be a bit of a game of cat and mouse to start with, so if I had to pick a round, I’d opt for round eight.