Brad Foster puts his British and Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight titles on the line against James Beech Jr on Friday as boxing makes its long-awaited return to UK shores.
After a break of 118 days from the last show on British soil, Frank Warren and Queensbury Promotions will be putting on Friday’s card, which gets underway at 19:00 on BT Sport 1, kicking off the summer season in style with a showpiece title fight in Stratford, London.
Foster appeared on the last bill before lockdown, stopping Lucien Reid after six rounds in their rematch at York Hall, on February 22 to retain his British Super-Bantamweight strap.
Experience Key for Foster
Both fighters boast an unbeaten record but the quality of their opponents during those sequences has been very different.
The Blade won his first title on just his 10th trip to the ring, beating Leon Gower to seal the Midlands Area Super-Bantamweight belt, before adding the vacant British Super-Bantamweight strap to his collection courtesy of a unanimous decision victory over Josh Wale at the Barnsley Metrodome.
He has fought at British championship level in his last four outings and the bulk of his career rounds have come in championship contests.
That experience is likely to be the decisive factor in this bout, which will take place behind closed doors.
Tough Debut for Beech Jr
Beech Jr has picked up the Midlands Super-Featherweight and Featherweight titles in his 12-fight professional career.
However, Friday’s outing will be his first contest at Super-Bantamweight after opting to drop down a weight class.
The 23-year-old can’t be completely overlooked due to his impressive footwork, both defensively and offensively, while his overhand right has enjoyed plenty of success in the past.
Hamzah Puts European Honours on the Line
Friday’s card also features Hamzah Sheeraz (10-0-0) defending his WBO European Super-Welterweight title against Paul Kean (12-1-0).
This fight was initially scheduled for April 11 on the undercard of Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce at London’s O2 Arena.
Sheeraz is the 1/14 favourite with Kean available at
23/4 to inflict a first professional defeat on the champion.
The WBO strap holder has won all 10 of his fights and boasts an impressive six victories via knockout.
However, Dundee native Kean feels he can cause an upset and believes the change in date works in his favour.
“When you get these fights, you usually get them at short notice so I will peak at the right time,” he told BBC Scotland.
*All odds correct at time of writing.