AP NEWS

Foster Living Up to Family’s High Standards

March 1, 2019
Joshua Foster of New Haven, Conn., right, fires a right hand at Kevin Rodriguez of Lawrence during a 132-pound bout. Foster was an unanimous decision winner at the Golden Gloves. SUN/DAVID H. BROW Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Joshua Foster is the next budding branch on a family tree bursting with boxing talent.

Foster is proof positive that the family that fights together bonds together when it comes to mastering the skills necessary to withstand the rigors of the ring.

The patriarch of the boxing Fosters is father, William Jr., a former professional fighter. Next up in this ring lineage is Foster’s older brothers, Charles (17-0, 8 KOs), an undefeated light heavyweight, and William III (9-0, 6 KOs), an undefeated super featherweight. Charles and William III each won New England crowns as amateurs before turning pro.

Now it’s Joshua’s turn to seize the moment and punch his way out from beneath the giant shadow cast by his siblings. And Joshua certainly made a smashing first impression in his first-ever appearance fighting hard by the banks of the mighty Merrimack River.

Foster, a native of New Haven, Conn., posted a unanimous decision victory over Kevin Rodriguez of Lawrence in a hard-hitting New England Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions 132-pound Open Division semifinal bout Thursday night at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium

The New England championship Open finals, for men and women, will be held at the Auditorium on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s hard following in their footsteps because I have the same last name as them and they are highly successful in the sport,” said Foster, 18. “I have to live up to my brothers and the family name.”

Foster gravitated to boxing at an early age. He has close to 50 amateur bouts, including the Junior Olympics and Silver Gloves.

“I grew up around boxing,” said Foster. “So heading into the ring was just a natural path for me. From age four to age eight I played baseball. But eventually I had to hop into the sport. And come to find out I was better in this than I was in baseball.”

Rodriguez turned in a strong showing while winning the Greater Lowell/Central crown.

Foster knew he was up against a talented foe and made sure to come out strong.

Foster started fast and rarely slowed up his attack, continually moving forward with both hands firing stinging shots.

Rodriguez never backed down, but he was backing up, while trying to mount a consistent counter-attack.

“He was a tough kid,” said Rodriguez. “I should have been more aggressive. I should have moved my head more. I could have fought a smarter fight.

“But I feel good about what I’ve accomplished. Just getting here was big. This is the furthest I’ve ever advanced (in a tournament). I’ll learn from this. It’s all good. There’s more coming. I’ll build on this.”

There were several punishing toe-to-toe exchanges. Rodriguez tried to push inside and score, but Foster consistently beat him to punch, landing more clean shots, including several powerful left uppercuts and hooks.

“I had to get on him early and stay on him,” said Foster. “I could see in his face that he had come to fight. So I knew I would have to work. He was a tough kid. I hit him with a few hard shots that I thought would stun him. But he kept coming. I give him props for that.”

Throughout the bout, Foster displayed a style and flair that belied his age.

“The kid is unbelievable,” said Western New England Golden Gloves Director Dean Fay. “He comes from an incredible pedigree. The poise he shows in the ring is that of a true veteran boxer. He’s comfortable in there. He’s patient. He looked really good.”

Rodriguez, meanwhile, came up two wins short of capturing a New England crown. But the experienced he gained this winter will serve the pride of Lawrence well in the future.

“Congratulations to the kid he fought,” said Rodriguez’s trainer Jose Madera. “He had a great performance. Joshua Foster comes from a fighting family. The kid came to fight tonight. He was the better man tonight.

“I’m so proud of Kevin. He made it this far, getting into the New England Tournament. He just broke into the Open (Division). He still has a lot of boxing ahead of him. This was a good learning lesson.”

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi

NEW ENGLAND GOLDEN GLOVES

OPEN DIVISION

Semifinals

at Lowell Memorial Auditorium

114 Pounds

Tashawn Ward (New London, CT) dec. Shin Murinda (Lawrence)

123 Pounds

Felix Parrilla (New Haven, CT) RSC Isaiah Vasquez (Cumberland, R.I.), 2:52 2nd

132 Pounds

Joshua Foster (New Haven, CT) dec. Kevin Rodriguez (Lawrence)

141 Pounds

Alijandro Paulino (New London, CT) dec. Christian Otero (Manchester, N.H.)

152 Pounds

Mark Solis (Clinton, CT) dec. David Ribeiro (Brockton)

165 Pounds

Francis Hogan (Weymouth) dec. Manny Guzman (New London, CT)

178 Pounds

Tom Jones (Providence, R.I.) dec. Anthony Farraiolo (North Branford, CT)

Super Heavyweight

Stephon Moss (Holyoke) dec. Delon Jones (Providence, R.I.)