Brad Foster: From supermarket shifts to topping boxing’s coronavirus return – BBC Sport

Brad Foster
Brad Foster can win the British title outright with a win on Friday

Brad Foster will switch from working night shifts at a supermarket to topping the bill when boxing finally returns to British screens on Friday.

The British super-bantamweight champion headlines the first boxing event in the UK since coronavirus prompted the sport’s shutdown in March.

“It was big when football returned to screens,” Foster, 22, told BBC Sport.

“Now this is a chance for me to shine with boxing coming back and I’m 100% confident I will on the night.”

If Foster can overcome the undefeated James Beech Jnr, he will secure a third win as British champion and in doing so will get to keep the coveted Lonsdale belt.

He has continued working night shifts throughout a training camp and has been dubbed the “most normal” character 5 Live Boxing’s Steve Bunce has met during his 35 years in the sport.

“I keep both feet on the ground,” Foster told the 5 Live Boxing podcast. “I’ll work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on a night shift from two in the morning. I have a good boss at Tesco who works around my boxing. Then I sleep, wake up and normally do two sessions.”

Foster has been able to spar but has been unable to fulfil his usual routine with access to some training venues restricted during lockdown.

He is now locked down in the fight hotel in London order to comply with British Boxing Board of Control rules leading into a fight night behind closed doors at BT Sport Studio in Stratford.

The Lichfield fighter had a decorated kick-boxing career in his youth but no amateur boxing fights before turning professional at 18. By contrast, current IBF and WBA super-bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev had around 300 amateur fights.

Foster knows extending his 14-fight unbeaten record with a win on a show of such significance can move him on to international honours and perhaps lead to him giving up his supermarket work.

“I focus on this one as this was a goal to win the British title outright,” he adds. “I have to do this one before we can unlock that next level.

“My head is saying that title is mine whether there’s a crowd there, a million people or zero and it’s just me and him. The job is to take that title home.”

‘The Bobby Charlton of boxing’ – analysis

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce

Brad Foster has a face like a choirboy but hardened fighters tell me about sparring this kid and how hard he is.

Lichfield, where he comes from, has no boxing gym. He will travel to spar on the road and in between that he’s doing night shifts at Tesco. This is like some guy from the ’50s or stories about Bobby Charlton getting on the bus and sitting next to fans to get to Manchester United games. This kid is like the Bobby Charlton of boxing.

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