Stephen Foster Jnr. will make the first defence of his European super-featherweight on Hatton Promotions first show of 2011.
His opponent will be mandatory contender Ermano Fegatilli in the Premier Suite at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium tonight Saturday February 26th.
Foster 30, won the title via a 3rd round KO win over Levan Kirakosyan to win his title in October, in a make or break fight that was to save his boxing career and revitalise his passion for the game.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I won the title, but I had better start because I have got a big fight coming up.
“I was really close to packing in, but since I signed with Ricky Hatton everything has gone great and I have been buzzing in the gym.
“Even when I wasn’t boxing in 2009, I was still in the gym working hard and everything has come together this year with four wins.”
Fegatilli, 26, has won 22 of his 26 fights and is on a eight fight winning streak stretching back to August 2008.
Ricky Hatton added: “It is a great way for Hatton Promotions to start 2011 with a top class title fight.
“Steve is a close friend of mine and to now be promoting his fights and helping him succeed gives me an even bigger buzz.”
BritishBoxers.co.uk voted Stephen’s successful return to the ring, as our comeback of the year boxer 2010, after Foster had to overcome personal problems and the threat of having to leave boxing behind and get a job on a building site.
But signing with Hatton promotions and then winning the title have setup the Manchester fighter for a positive 2011 boxing revival.
Comeback of the year: Steve Foster Jnr. Since losing to Alex Arthur in 2007 for the WBO super featherweight title. Boxing’s forgotten man Foster, drifted out of the game, having only one fight in 2008 and not fighting at all during 2009.
The Manchester fighter was unlucky that night against Arthur and pushed the Scotsman all the way over 12 rounds, losing on a close unanimous decision. But it was more to do with personal issues that kept Steve out of the ring.
Foster had to cope with the illness of his baby son, while wondering if his career was over. Four-year-old Kai was diagnosed with acute myasthenia, a condition that causes muscle weakness, which meant Foster had to spend hours by his bedside at Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital, in between training for fights.
It would be a challenging enough situation at the best of times – but with bills mounting as his fight career ground to a halt, it left the 30-year-old on the brink.
Then Foster joined Hatton Promotions after breaking from Frank Warren. Hatton promised to get Foster a European title shot if he did the business in the ring.
Foster did just that and after 3 wins in 2010, Hatton was true to his word and delivered Foster a shot at big-hitting Armenian, Kirakosyan, Foster jumped at the chance.
Despite being the rank outsider and having not fought beyond six rounds since the Arthur defeat, Foster turned in the performance of his career, with a stunning third round knock-out of Levan Kirakosyan in October to win the European strap, turning around his boxing career and his life.
“I knew I was the underdog, but I had to take the opportunity, Nothing else was happening for me, I had no money. It was a chance to get my career going again.” said Foster.
“I wouldn’t say I thought about retirement, but if I hadn’t won that night, it would probably have been the end of my career.
That was why I was so sure I would win. I had a look at myself in the mirror and said, ‘This is it’. It was the only route I had. I’d hit rock bottom.” – Stephen Foster.
“I had so much to prove and I wanted to show everyone that I can still mix it with the best. If I hadn’t won I’d probably have steel toecaps on and be working on the building site with my dad.
“But now I want to defend this title, fight for a world title and make some proper money for my family before I retire.” added Foster.
A Foster win will not only see him a step closer to a world title fight but the reward of a three week holiday in Jamaica courtesy of his trainer Maurice Core awaits him, provided he beats his mandatory contender.
Core will take Foster Jr on the Caribbean break next week along with his Moss Side gym mates.
Foster Jr said: “I am not even thinking of the holiday because this is a very tough fight against a slick opponent.
“Maurice will bring it up when we are training hard and when I need that extra push he’ll tell me ‘think of Jamaica’, and I give it a little bit more.
“All I ever do is train so the holiday is a great opportunity to unwind and get away from boxing.”
Former British light-heavyweight champion Core added: “His dad still likes me to keep an eye on Steve so I might have to share a room to make sure he behaves.
“The 21 days is great for us and there is no talk of boxing until we get back when it is straight in to training again.”
Foster won the European crown last year with a chilling three round KO of Levan Kirakosyan and is now in a hurry.
He added: “People see me and still think I am still young kid, but I am a 30 year-old man and ready for the very best 130lb fighters.”
In the chief support unbeaten St Helens fighter Craig Lyon makes the first defence of his English bantamweight crown against Barnsley’s Josh Wale.
Former World Boxing Council (WBC) super-middleweight champion Robin Reid makes a ring return on the bill when he boxes Jamie Ambler over four rounds.
Unbeaten British Olympian Joe Murray faces his toughest test so far against Frenchman Daniel Kodjo Sassou who recently extended Scott Quigg
Others hopefuls on the undercard include Belarusian star Sergey Rabchenko tackles former Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Martin Concepcion, Kieron Maher faces Lester Walsh, Richard Towers meets Daniel Bispo, Adam Etches faces Estonian hopeful Aleksei Tsatiasivili , Dezzie Higginson boxes Robin Deakin and Jack Perry meet a selected opponent.