By: Oliver McManus
A tough-to-call rematch on Saturday night to get everyone talking… no it’s not Deontay Wilder’s behemoth clash with Tyson Fury but more domestic affair down at York Hall, Bethnal Green. British and Commonwealth super bantamweight champion Brad Foster squares off with, old foe, Lucien Reid.
The pair first met in September over a fiercely fought twelve rounds that saw a majority draw declared on the night. Over the course of that contest it was Reid who served as the primary aggressor with his speed and movement, at times, seeing him a step clear of his man. It was an impressive display of athleticism from the London fighter when consider he’d only had two fights in the previous two years.
Defending champion Foster had a bumpy opening couple of rounds but adjusted to Reid’s pace and style as the rounds progressed. It really was a case of “what do you like” when it came to scoring the contest with Reid landing shots at more of a forced pace whilst the defending champion focussed on concise, measured work.
On that night the York Hall crowd, naturally, favoured with the endeared challenger who, himself, was adamant he’d done enough to win the fight. In truth it seemed as though the contest was a tale of two halves with Reid’s corner imploring ‘patience’ ahead of the sixth round. Both men have plumped for an immediate rematch with, they perceive, a point to prove and fire in the belly.
Serving as a nominal canape to the main event out in Las Vegas, Foster vs Reid tops Queensbury Promotions UK leg of the build-up. It’ll be interesting to see if both men approach the contest with their steadfast styles or attempt to mix it up for the rematch.
The undercard features a British title eliminator between Kody Davies and Umar Sadiq at super middleweight. Welshman Kody Davies is making the step up down from 175lbs having campaigned at the higher weight class for the duration of his career. Both men have racked up ten fights since their debuts: a month either side of each other in the autumn of 2017.
A small shared history unites the two having both taken on, former Southern Area champion, Zak Chelli during the pro careers. Sadiq came on strong during their eight round contest, at the end of 2018, and there was a feeling had it have been scheduled for two more that Sadiq would have won. Davies was more imposing from the start of his contest with Chelli and, despite being dropped in the second, proved a comfortable winner over the course of ten rounds.
With this particular contest also slated for ten rounds, Sadiq may look to lean on that growing engine over the course of the fight to tie Davies down. His younger counterpart will back himself, though, to ride the storm and prove the livelier man on the night.
By: Sean Crose
Fourteen wins. Zero defeats. All wins by knockout. There’s little doubt that twenty one year old Texan Vergil Ortiz is a fighter on the rise. When one’s entire record to date consists of highlight reel moments, people naturally take notice. “My ultimate goal,” he told me back in 2018, “is to be remembered in boxing.” Make no mistake about it, Ortiz has lofty goals – and an impressive resume to prove his seriousness about achieving those goals. Yet Ortiz’ welterweight opponent this Friday in Indio, California no doubt has lofty goals of his own – and an impressive resume, as well.
At 28-1 (and that lone one came via split decision), Brad Solomon is no mere tune up for Ortiz. Those who have watched the Lafayette Louisiana born slickster in action know the man is way more than a steppingstone – he’s someone who might pose a real threat to Ortiz’ undefeated record. “I tip my hat off to Verg,” Solomon tells me over the phone. “I respect him for giving me this opportunity…that lets me know what type of fighter he is.” True enough. Extremely smooth and fluid in the ring, Solomon has bested names such as Ray Robinson and Adrian Granados. Now, after a period of relative inactivity – he’s fought just three times since 2015 – Solomon is looking to get back on track.
Extremely personable, the fighter brushed off the idea of taking an easy fight or two before moving on to a (literally) heavy hitter like Ortiz. “Tune ups,” he says. “That doesn’t help you.” Solomon makes it clear he’s a man who pursues the sport of boxing his way rather than someone else’s’. “Ain’t no game plan,” Solomon tells me. “I’m looking forward to whatever he (Ortiz) brings.” Solomon’s confidence has served him well far more than it hasn’t. “I feel good about the situation,” he says.
An upset win over Ortiz on Friday might well make the sky the limit for the colorful Solomon. Still, the man remains focused on the task at hand. “I’m focusing on Vergil at this moment,” he says. “They’ll come for the big fights after that.” To Solomon, boxing is a serious business – a job to be treated with a professional attitude. “This is what I do,” Solomon tells me. “It’s another day at the office.” That means Ortiz can expect a very prepared Solomon in Indio (“I started in New Orleans,” he says of his training, “and finished in Georgia”). Ortiz, however, will be aiming to do what he does best – finish things early.
This one should be interesting.